The Soaker Arms Race - ...and the winner is...

Discussions of all varieties of stock water guns and water blasters.
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isoaker
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Postby isoaker » Sat Nov 06, 2004 4:20 pm

Since its release, the Super Soaker brand water blaster has dominated the market both in terms of power and styling as well as sheer popularity. Often times, even non-Super Soaker items were believed to be Super Soakers simply due to the prevalence and abundance of true Super Soaker products on the market and in the public's hands.

However, in more recent times, society, itself, has changed. Due to a variety of reasons but mostly due to analogy, the view of water warfare has taken a downturn. School shootings, terrorism in general, disrespectul youth, etc. has led to an overall tarnishing of the once more promoted activity known as the water fight. This, combined with an unstable economy and general uncertainty on what the future has in store can be seen reflected in the change of blasters available.

Larami Inc., bought by Hasbro Inc., eventually ended up just becoming part of Hasbro in time. In the merging and restructuring process, many previous Larami Ltd. employees ended up elsewhere after the re-organizing occured. However, perhaps unforeseen by Hasbro Inc., some had banded together to create Buzz Bee Toys Inc.

While Hasbro Inc. retains the rights and patents surrounding the Super Soaker brand product, Buzz Bee Toys Inc. possesses a number of engineers previously involved in the design of previous Super Soaker lines. In 2003, Buzz Bee Toys had a limited release of a new water blaster line known as Water Warriors. The Water Warrior lineup had a similar shape and styling as older Super Soaker models, but with noticable differences including electronic pressure gauges on some models as well as use of a new form of constant pressurization system known as 'Hydro Power'.

While just emerging in 2003, the 2004 line of Water Warriors found greater exposure and, as well, appears to have had greater success in the marketplace. Big Bee, Buzz Bee Toys' owner, has also made himself seen in the online Soaker Community, interacting with members and seeking out comment on the Water Warriors' lineup as well as suggestions for future blasters. This is unprecendented interaction between a manufacturer and the community.

Of course, despite the success of the Water Warriors line, Super Soaker still remains the best known name when it comes to water weaponry. However, Buzzz Bee Toys Inc's popularity in the community and with the consumer has likely caught Hasbro Inc's attention.

The Water Warrior line appears to have a slight edge currently in terms of some of the technology and design found in some of its blasters. How Super Soaker will respond to its new competition should prove to be interesting.

On the one hand, the community has online ties to a smaller company that appears to be willing to do what it can when it comes to experimenting with new, fan-inspired blaster designs. On the other hand, the community is most definitely watched from the BIG company that has the capability to do things beyond what the smaller one could simply due to having greater resources on its side if it chooses to use them. 'tis an interesting period for soaking, indeed.

As for the winner, that one is simple - it's us! Good competition should hopefully inspire better soaker designs and better quality product as manufacturers fight for consumer spending dollars. Time will tell how the next round of competition unfolds...

:cps2000: :blazer:

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Postby Monsoon » Sat Nov 06, 2004 5:09 pm

So what you're basically stating is that the Water Warriors line is making good competition with Super Soaker, and now that that's happening, SS will try to compete more so? Since the WW line came up with the Blazer, do you think SS will come out with a new CPS soaker? Find out on the next episode of...............whatever.


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Postby trekkie00 » Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:18 pm

The problem is that Water Warriors and SuperSoaker are aimed at diffirent groups of people. The Super Soaker brand has many gimmicks (e.g, spinning nozzles, "three ways to attack", "powerful pump-to-blast shooting") while Water Warriors has the powerful guns. If anything, they won't have much competition because they will each go their seperate ways in producing. SS gets more kiddish (is that a word?) and WW gets more powerful.

I guess we still win!

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Postby Soakologist » Sat Nov 06, 2004 11:12 pm

BS. WW is small fries to whatever Hasbro can dish out. Regardless of how superior their product is (and trust me, it's superior), it won't sell as well simply due to marketing and namesake. Super Soakers will always sell better than WW (for the forseeable future, anyway). The Consumer is too ignorant to realize that Hasbro is ripping them off. How many times must we go through this discussion?

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Postby Shadowstrike Prime » Sun Nov 07, 2004 12:14 am

^The new "Super Soakers" are so far removed from what the general public thinks of as a Super Soaker that I don't think that name brand has as much of an impact anymore. Water Warriors went the more traditional design route, while still looking unique. That, coupled with obviously better models may have put a bigger dent in Hasbro than I think most realise.
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Postby isoaker » Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:19 am

Soakologist makes a valid point that Hasbro is vastly larger than Buzz Bee Toys. However, Water Warriors does not need to sell huge numbers so long as Buzz Bee Toys markets well, moves the products it manufactures, and manages to etch out a decent profit from the soakers it does make. As well, from what I've seen in the stores that carry Water Warriors blasters, in 2003, I found many Water Warriors products around at the end of the season whereas this year, pretty much all were sold apart from a few SoggyDoggies and Water Balloon fillers. That looks like an increase in popularity to me (though, of course, Water Warriors are carried in far fewer stores than Super Soakers are).

I don't see Buzz Bee Toys as an equal-sized competitor, but it is a company Hasbro likely has its eyes on since it is comprised of many former Larami members and is also in the water blaster as well as foam blaster markets. While still growing, if Buzz Bee Toys continues to develop its product and popularity with the consumer, producing good quality blasters at prices noticably less that the Super Soaker line, in time Water Warriors may go from an alternative to a sizable competitor.

For now, it's interesting to see how this alll unfolds. Me, I'm just hoping this growing competition yields better blasters from both Hasbro and Buzz Bee Toys for *us* to use! (To those who have a thing for knocking Hasbro, I wouldn't discount them just yet. As has been seen in the Transformer line, while some dud products are still produced, if they get their act together, they can also do some pretty incredible things for a line, too.)

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Postby Iceman » Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:54 am

Soakologist wrote:BS. WW is small fries to whatever Hasbro can dish out. Regardless of how superior their product is (and trust me, it's superior), it won't sell as well simply due to marketing and namesake. Super Soakers will always sell better than WW (for the forseeable future, anyway). The Consumer is too ignorant to realize that Hasbro is ripping them off. How many times must we go through this discussion?

Well, what do you expect? Like Isoaker says, Buzz Bee Toys is a relativlty small company. I however disagree in your opinion on how the SoakerTag Guns were better than Water Warriors Lineup this year, but lets save that for another discussion.

In a company, especially if it is new, its gonna take time, money, and effort to get a product to sell well. Yes Habro has the name and the backbone, but that DOES NOT mean Buzz Bee Toys can gain this reputation as well. Time, Money, and effort will get them there.

Super Soakers will always sell better than WW (for the forseeable future, anyway


There is no way you can tell that, I honestly think that came out as how you feel. Maybe Super Soakers will sell better, Maybe people will buy just as much Buzz Bee Toy's products. In fact you, I, or Isoaker have no clue what is to happen, unless you invented a time machine.

The Consumer is too ignorant to realize that Hasbro is ripping them off


I disagree. In the consumer's eyes they are getting what they pay for. Honestly I think the Soakertag guns were set at reasonable prices. If you mean that they could get a better, discontinued gun for their money? your absolutly right. But what about the 5 year old looking for a great starter gun, not too powerful, but just right?

How many times must we go through this discussion?


Isoaker has mentioned in the past that bringing up old topics and reiewing them is a good thing. It sounds here that your statement is the end all, be all. Its good to keep monitoring progress on the market, and I agree with you and Isoaker that the future of the Soaker Market will indeed be a sort of "Arms Race". Be good people, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

-Iceman
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Postby Soakologist » Sun Nov 07, 2004 11:31 am

Iceman wrote:
Soakologist wrote:BS. WW is small fries to whatever Hasbro can dish out. Regardless of how superior their product is (and trust me, it's superior), it won't sell as well simply due to marketing and namesake. Super Soakers will always sell better than WW (for the forseeable future, anyway). The Consumer is too ignorant to realize that Hasbro is ripping them off. How many times must we go through this discussion?

Well, what do you expect? Like Isoaker says, Buzz Bee Toys is a relativlty small company. I however disagree in your opinion on how the SoakerTag Guns were better than Water Warriors Lineup this year, but lets save that for another discussion.

In a company, especially if it is new, its gonna take time, money, and effort to get a product to sell well. Yes Habro has the name and the backbone, but that DOES NOT mean Buzz Bee Toys can gain this reputation as well. Time, Money, and effort will get them there.

Super Soakers will always sell better than WW (for the forseeable future, anyway


There is no way you can tell that, I honestly think that came out as how you feel. Maybe Super Soakers will sell better, Maybe people will buy just as much Buzz Bee Toy's products. In fact you, I, or Isoaker have no clue what is to happen, unless you invented a time machine.

The Consumer is too ignorant to realize that Hasbro is ripping them off


I disagree. In the consumer's eyes they are getting what they pay for. Honestly I think the Soakertag guns were set at reasonable prices. If you mean that they could get a better, discontinued gun for their money? your absolutly right. But what about the 5 year old looking for a great starter gun, not too powerful, but just right?

How many times must we go through this discussion?


Isoaker has mentioned in the past that bringing up old topics and reiewing them is a good thing. It sounds here that your statement is the end all, be all. Its good to keep monitoring progress on the market, and I agree with you and Isoaker that the future of the Soaker Market will indeed be a sort of "Arms Race". Be good people, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

-Iceman

I think you misunderstand: I meant that WW's products are superior to Soaker Tag.

SS will sell better for as long as we're concerned. BBT doesn't have the money to manufacture as many Soakers as Larami, they don't have the brand name, the marketing money, or the gimmicks that get the kids to buy it (though this is an advantage in my eyes).

The average consumer is a 5-12 year old. They are ignorant. 5-12 year olds go for the one that looks the coolest. And to a 5-12 year old, a bubbly bright colo(u)red soaker is just what he's looking for. A 5-12 year old doesn't give a crap about power or durability or any of the things we look for.

Quite honestly, not much changes in the "market" in under a year, and we've gone thro' this same discussion numerous times, always coming to either no conclusion or the same conclusion.




Edited By Soakologist on 1099845207

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Postby isoaker » Sun Nov 07, 2004 12:51 pm

Quite honestly, not much changes in the "market" in under a year, and we've gone thro' this same discussion numerous times, always coming to either no conclusion or the same conclusion.


This topic may have been brought up before, but that's also before any of us had seen the general sales of Water Warrior products over the course of the 2004 season compared to Super Soaker products. As such, this topic gains a little more weight since there have been differences in sales, not to mention Big Bee's statement somewhere that 2004 had been a good year for them. At any rate, the point of this topic is not to draw any conclusions since that's just not the position we're in. Until someone here starts mass marketing their own brand of soakers (and, of course, apart from those who make their own soakers), we are still at the whim of the current manufacturers as to what stock soakers will be available in stores. Buzz Bee Toys' apparent success in their niche in the market means that they will continue to develop their products. I don't know exact sales numbers, but if Buzz Bee Toys continues to take increasing percentages of soaker sales, Hasbro will not just be able to stand idly by if they wish to continue the Super Soaker brand as a successful item. Thus, for us, hopefully that'll end up resulting in better blasters due to rivalling manufacturers.

This particular topic I chose to bring up again just as a point of discussion. IMO, it is good to bring back older topics when there is newer information that can be brought into it. If Soakologist doesn't find this thread of any use, that's fine, but that's just his opinion, not mine.

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Postby Sapper46123 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:06 pm

Regarding the brand name, I'm not sure many consumers besides us and maybe a few others really look at the brand name. They use the terms "Super Soaker" and "water gun" interchangably. But, it is a sound point.

Also, over the summer, I peaked into the toy section of Wal*Mart five or six times, and each time not a single Super Soaker brand blaster was being sold. I saw some little Squirt pistols, though. Didn't check for Buzz Bee's.

I generally concur with iSoaker: competition can only benefit us.




Edited By Sapper46123 on 1099872411

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Postby isoaker » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:53 pm

Slight off-topic: Sapper! Good to see you again! :cool:

Back on topic: In the meantime, as those in the Southern Hemisphere have gotten a chance to, I'd like to try out the 2005 Water Warrior blasters mentioned thusfar and, of course, await to see what Super Soaker has for us in the 2005 line.

:cool:
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Postby USSA » Sun Nov 07, 2004 9:07 pm

alright... the following may shock you... do not continue if you are week at heart.

earlier this year (around july) I went to a toys 'r us and couldn't find any "super soakers". (Note: this was shortly after the report of $3 MXL's) Anyway I asked one of the employees is they had any water guns in the back. The helpful employee started towards the back. When I specified that I was looking for an extremly large "Super Soaker" they promptly stopped and told me that they no longer stocked the super soaker brand, only Ohio arts and Big Bee. Deciding that this was probably just an ignorant empoyee trying to take the easy way out I went to another employee. After the same line of questioning I recieved the same answer... huh. Slack jawed I left the store and stuffed my face with doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts across the street.

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Postby Belisaurius » Sun Nov 07, 2004 11:03 pm

I think within the community there has been a growing trend towards increasing power through mods and homemades at the expense of mobility. Bigger has often been falsely mistaken for better. I feel that over the course of the next year smaller, lighter equipped troops will outmaneuver heavier troops with supermodified capacities. At the end of this last season, when myself and my co-commander defeated a CFM team of 3 which had home turf, tech, and numbers advantage has already demonstarted that the upcoming season here will be one focusing more on mobility and speed than on power. Two man squads, moving quickly and striking opposing formations along the flanks and rear, are definately going to make their presence known in this next season at Waterbridge, when we face the CFM once again with basically equal disadvantages to the last battle.

I look forward to the 05 line, and i hope the new weapons are more utilitarian than aesthetic.

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Postby Iceman » Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:31 pm

Belisaurius wrote:I think within the community there has been a growing trend towards increasing power through mods and homemades at the expense of mobility. Bigger has often been falsely mistaken for better. I feel that over the course of the next year smaller, lighter equipped troops will outmaneuver heavier troops with supermodified capacities. At the end of this last season, when myself and my co-commander defeated a CFM team of 3 which had home turf, tech, and numbers advantage has already demonstarted that the upcoming season here will be one focusing more on mobility and speed than on power. Two man squads, moving quickly and striking opposing formations along the flanks and rear, are definately going to make their presence known in this next season at Waterbridge, when we face the CFM once again with basically equal disadvantages to the last battle.

I look forward to the 05 line, and i hope the new weapons are more utilitarian than aesthetic.

I think within the community there has been a growing trend towards increasing power through mods and homemades at the expense of mobility.


There is a growing trend, for the people who seek it. In my opinion, equipping all my soldiers with homemade blasters ism't the best idea in the world, I agree.

feel that over the course of the next year smaller, lighter equipped troops will outmaneuver heavier troops with supermodified capacities.


Well yeah, thats expected to happen, and it has......

I look forward to the 05 line, and i hope the new weapons are more utilitarian than aesthetic.


Yup, we will definatly have to see whats coming from Hasbro. However a Sneak peak at Buzz Bee Toy's Guns tells us were in for more function then cosmetic, hes got a excellent balance of both In my opinion.
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Postby Monsoon » Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:51 pm

A Canadian Tire up north near my cottage had a Monster X, CPS 1700, and a CPS 3200 in 2003. They are most likely gone by now. I had no money and the CPS 1700 (the one I wanted) was like 35 bucks canadian.
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Postby Veteran » Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:17 pm

Speaking of the ignorace, someone from school last June said to me, "Yeah, first thing I'm going to do is buy some Super Soakers." to which I responded, "Problem is, Super Soaker has been turning out little kid crap lately." The person was really bummed out when hearing this, so I told him about the WW line and he said he would get a Blazer instead.

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Postby Iceman » Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:21 pm

Veteran wrote:Speaking of the ignorace, someone from school last June said to me, "Yeah, first thing I'm going to do is buy some Super Soakers." to which I responded, "Problem is, Super Soaker has been turning out little kid crap lately." The person was really bummed out when hearing this, so I told him about the WW line and he said he would get a Blazer instead.

Heh, if I could get people like that! People around my parts have prejudice against people who like soakers, let alone they could care less about them. Yeah, send them my way please :)
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Postby wetmonkey442 » Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:12 pm

Hmmm....The Aqua Warriors were always the only people remotely interested in water guns. Everyone else was interested in paintball or airsoft. I don't blame them. I guess you could say that it takes an extremely creative and imaginative person to find water warfare interesting. It just isn't as fast paced or as exciting as paintball or airsoft, I guess.

P.S. Haven't been here in awhile, nothing has changed much. I do dissapprove, however, of the Helix bearing emoticon. I won't be stopping by much. Maybe one every other month or so. Soak On.
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Postby Spinner » Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:15 pm

wetmonkey442 wrote:Hmmm....The Aqua Warriors were always the only people remotely interested in water guns. Everyone else was interested in paintball or airsoft. I don't blame them. I guess you could say that it takes an extremely creative and imaginative person to find water warfare interesting. It just isn't as fast paced or as exciting as paintball or airsoft, I guess.

P.S. Haven't been here in awhile, nothing has changed much. I do dissapprove, however, of the Helix bearing emoticon. I won't be stopping by much. Maybe one every other month or so. Soak On.

Wetmonkey returns? That's good. What's wrong with the Helix emoticon, or is it just understandable dislike of 2004 Super Soakers?
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Postby Adrian » Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:17 pm

You're not going to finish your story? Or is THAT the reason you're not visiting much, you feel you are too defined by your art?

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