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Old 05-01-2013, 04:07 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Granpa_jo View Post
I've been on a hiatus for just under 2 years now, dealing with personal issues and even before I went on hiatus I hadn't bought any new gear in at least 2 years, and I just got on a few shopping venues and it looks to me like its all the same old stuff. I know that some of the higher end markers have had at least one "new" version come out in that time, but everything else is pretty much the same.

Once was a time we'd see a few new products coming out each year, a new mask, a new marker model, new hoppers, whatever. I look now and see that the I4 is the latest mask out for their line since 2008. Tippmann X7, 2010.

Then I look at the news section here, and I don't see much of anything.

Am I just missing all the cool stuff, or are companies just kind of floating by now trying to milk what they can before closing shop?
I think it really depends on how you are looking at it. If you look at the tournament side of paintball, from a performance standpoint it hit a peak well before you even got out. From a product standpoint new products weren't a sign of industry growth but, rather trying to sell folks guns and equipment that didn't significantly perform better than previous years (new styling, etc). There were improvements, just nothing that tangible within the limits of a single match (i.e. weight, efficiency, size, etc).

If you look at the recreational side of paintball, from a performance standpoint it's largely been the same except there was a clear performance improvement: Range and Accuracy due to the First Strike Round. In this side, there have been an explosion of new products. For example, in 2010Tippmann released the Phenom (not just another X7 but, a completely new engine), then they released the TPX/TiPX, and in 2012, the Crossover (phenom engine in a tourney style body). Several company's have come forward with guns designed to fire first strike rounds (not just 'capable' like the Empire Traccer) just this year: RAP4, Carmatech, CCM, MILSIG, Spyder, Dye. And Tiberius Arms is getting ready to release a true 2nd generation FS gun (the T15). All of these products also align with an increased interest (at least on the southern side of the Canadian border) in mag-fed or milsim play.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:33 PM   #32 (permalink)
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As much as I don't like Smart Parts, they did something right
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Is AGD actually making new parts when they need to, or is it all NOS?
Tom Kaye and the Gardner brothers are probably the best business people in the industry. Tom from being able to capitalize as an innovator and the Gardners as straight up old school corporate robber barons.

Both companies realized theirs more money to be made on intellectual property rather then in house manufacturing.

Tom made his money licensing it out to less then lethal arms companies. Agd is still in business but just from a parts and services standpoint. You can't buy a new mag from them.

The Gardner brothers undercut everyone in the business with their ion, and probably put themselves "out of business" by gutting their midrange. I say "out of business" because it was a corporate restructuring. They walked away from a ton of loans I'm guessing due to running a huge manufacturing facility and can almost guarantee they don't make gog markers in house. That being said, they kept the 2 most profitable pieces of their company, Luxe on the super high end and the ion (now the basis of gog) on the low high volume end.

I'm actually amazed that Bob Long is still doing good despite sticking to the same business model of high end makers, yet supports a pretty full lineup with little Bob Long branded aftermarket and soft goods.

And for everyone that says Kee is a monopoly I disagree. I really doubt they are as profitable as you'd think. They're just the only one left in the industry that still has any credit to acquire companies and keep their logistics running. I predict you'll see that company get bounced around a lot of private equity companies. If you know their history that's how they've always been, under a number of different names. They are pretty much a distribution and one stop supply chain for a number of different companies, with out them this industry would be in even worse shape in terms of options.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:41 PM   #33 (permalink)
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KEE could have been the ultimate paintball conglomerate, but they failed in two areas.
1) Making poor decisions on product evolution.
2) Letting Simon go.

I'll leave that point there.

Next, I think we are already seeing the slow regrowth of small companies. With the main offerings so overwhelminly covered by the big guys, the smaller companies and now the even smaller ones are stepping in to fill the voids.

Hobby manufacturing is allowing for a smaller commitment to see what products have a place on the marketplace and what won't sell enough to step things up to the next level.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #34 (permalink)
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You can't buy a new mag from them.
Not much of a selection, but it still happens...

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Old 05-01-2013, 06:20 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by boo View Post
Tom Kaye and the Gardner brothers are probably the best business people in the industry. Tom from being able to capitalize as an innovator and the Gardners as straight up old school corporate robber barons.

Both companies realized theirs more money to be made on intellectual property rather then in house manufacturing.

Tom made his money licensing it out to less then lethal arms companies. Agd is still in business but just from a parts and services standpoint. You can't buy a new mag from them.

The Gardner brothers undercut everyone in the business with their ion, and probably put themselves "out of business" by gutting their midrange. I say "out of business" because it was a corporate restructuring. They walked away from a ton of loans I'm guessing due to running a huge manufacturing facility and can almost guarantee they don't make gog markers in house. That being said, they kept the 2 most profitable pieces of their company, Luxe on the super high end and the ion (now the basis of gog) on the low high volume end.

I'm actually amazed that Bob Long is still doing good despite sticking to the same business model of high end makers, yet supports a pretty full lineup with little Bob Long branded aftermarket and soft goods.

And for everyone that says Kee is a monopoly I disagree. I really doubt they are as profitable as you'd think. They're just the only one left in the industry that still has any credit to acquire companies and keep their logistics running. I predict you'll see that company get bounced around a lot of private equity companies. If you know their history that's how they've always been, under a number of different names. They are pretty much a distribution and one stop supply chain for a number of different companies, with out them this industry would be in even worse shape in terms of options.
Actually, they had normal debt, and paid everything on time. But one bank called them on their loan early, wanting several million right away. That is what put them into bankruptcy. Plus the fact that they spent better than four times to enforce their patents compared to how much they got from royalties and such, didn't help them.

As to GoG, from my understanding, other than the Freak IP, and maybe a few Trademarks (See Kee putting out the Impulse), and maybe the infamous patent, they bought everything that was Smart Parts, and continue to keep plugging away. So they are still making them here in the US, and if I am correct, in the exact same building as what was Smart Parts. I know that Blackrain has done some communicating with GoG, maybe he can confirm if they are still in the same building.
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:26 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Pretty sure KEE owns the Freak patents and GoG is paying for the rights to sell them. That whole IP thing is pretty scattered, hard to get good info and nobody will really talk about it. Not that they have to, but it's nice to know who owns what.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:11 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Regarding AGD, Tom sold the company, name, stock, and all to a new guy a few years ago. From my debacle trying to order some stuff from him last month, I THINK his name is Dave or something like that. Anyway, he bought up all the old AGD stock, piled it up in his garage, and sells it out of his house. There is no (and will be no) new manufactured AGD anything; when you order a 'Mag from him, yes, it's a brand new 'Mag, but it's built out of whatever pieces he still has on hand to do it. That's why the options for colors and stuff keep getting shorter and shorter as he runs out of stuff.

AGD as most people knew it is dead. It's nothing but a (poorly managed) namesake now.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:41 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Pretty sure KEE owns the Freak patents and GoG is paying for the rights to sell them. That whole IP thing is pretty scattered, hard to get good info and nobody will really talk about it. Not that they have to, but it's nice to know who owns what.
Yeah, Kee bought a number of IP's from what was Smart Parts. Like the Freak, Impulse, and I think that patent on electro's that Smart Parts was holding over people's heads.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:10 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I'd say peaked, not stagnated. There hasn't been much new that came down the line during my time away from the game and there really isn't much more I could ask for.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:21 AM   #40 (permalink)
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...was Smart Parts, and continue to keep plugging away. So they are still making them here in the US, and if I am correct, in the exact same building as what was Smart Parts.
I don't know about the other models, but I'm 99% sure the eNMEy is made in Costa Rica (or some other Central American country).
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