Feb 15

I went paintballing with a group of 11 guys this past weekend in the desert north of Phoenix. It was the third time I had ever been and we all had a blast. It was surprising how many people were up there – probably close to 100 when I was expecting about 10… Anyways, while the experience was killer, there’s a simple tweak they could make to take it to the next level.
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This particular operation (or any other savvy paintballing outfit) should add a premium feature to their game play. They should learn from skydiving and offer helmet cams and then sell the footage back to the players. I don’t know what the exact economics would need to be but quick googling shows there are sub-$100 waterproof cameras that could easily be mounted on the players masks. Take it a step further and put a close-circuit TV in the deadman box (place where people accumulate after getting shot) , have the helmet cams transmit wirelessly in real-time and broadcast gameplay live from multiple angles. Affix helmet cams on all referees and make it truly cinematic with the ability to see the final firefight showdown after you’ve been shot.

Once you’re knocked out it’s still fun to come back and debrief with other folks in that area but you know you’re missing a crazy final battle that’s happening out of sight. It would incredibly badass for them to add this real-time window into that action without too much cost or extra effort required. The other benefit is that they’s then capture all that footage to a hard drive daily and have the ability to burn you a DVD at the end for $20 ($50?, $100?).

This paintball place doesn’t need more players – it needs a way of extracting more money from their existing player base and making the game more memorable to drive repeat business.

There is an absolute opportunity here to offer something extra that makes the experience more engaging while simultaneously giving the paintball company a high-margin new product to sell for essentially no cost. And the byproduct is footage they can not only sell on-site, impulse-purchase to the players but also to build up a knowledgebase or have fodder for educational DVD’s, to acquire highlight reel film for their promo collateral or best yet: post it to FB on players’ behalf and offload all their marketing costs to them. All of that drives more repeat business and higher-margin business. We used Groupons for this outing but if this place builds up their organic crowd they can cease the Groupons and keep the full price for themselves…

Anyways below is some point-of-view footage I took from my iPhone on one of the rounds we played if you want a flavor of what it’s like. In 3min I managed to run into a cactus, jam my gun, cap some guy in the head and then take a barrage of cross-fire myself. Good times.

POV of Paintballing in the AZ Desert from Sean Tierney on Vimeo.

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