Tim wrote:Plenty of people drop way more than $200 on airsoft guns & paintball markers. Why are we water folks so cheap?
Is there any chance you could consult or collaborate with Buzz Bee Toys? They would get to sell a bunch of blasters, and you would get to pick up manufacturing experience (paid internship?). As marauder pointed out, it’s on like Donkey Kong for CPS once the patent expires.
Can’t wait to see the CPH you are working on. Is this going to incorporate the new nozzle design you’ve been hinting at?
Not sure why people who are interested in more powerful water guns are so cheap. I think part of the problem is that manufacturers sell things for $20, so maybe people expect the cost to be around there, not 10 times higher. Another part of the problem is that people might expect to get a lot of use out of paintball markers, but water guns are built less durably and there are usually less people to play with. Both would make playing frequently more difficult.
I'll agree with isoaker, too. It's important to clarify between say, people on WaterWar.net, and people who are interested in more powerful water guns in general. I think many people here would pay $200 or so for a water gun if they knew it was good. But people who post here are more dedicated than the people who emailed me. I recall that most of the interested folks were not members of the forums at the time.
At least some of the CPS patents have expired or else Buzz Bee couldn't have made the Gargantua. I don't know which ones in particular have expired, but I imagine that Buzz Bee is more limited by the price of water blasters they can sell than by technology. For example, there never was any problem with them making something similar to the SS 300, which would be a very welcome addition. Yet, they never did even this.
The CPH design I have in mind would not have any special technology in the way of nozzles, valves, or pressure systems. The goal would be to make a reliable, compact, relatively lightweight, reasonably inexpensive, and high powered water gun using proven technology. What I said in the nozzle thread is not part of this as the ideas involved need to be worked out.
marauder wrote:I remember row upon row of Monster XLs, Monster Xs, WWF guns, CPS, XPs, and even rereleases, in August-September of 2001; all extremely marked down, and still being too young to be able to buy anything on my own. I remember this extreme sale at Toys R Us where they had Monster XLs for $12. Imagine being able to buy all of that. MXLs were everywhere at that point, I even remember them at some of the drug stores here. Of course, Monster Xs, 3200s, and 2700s were also massive by today's standards.
I find this to be very interesting. My first response to that would have been "This is incredible, I need to buy as many as possible." But on second thought, you had to consider why things are like that. If the water guns need to be marked down that much then they must not be selling too well.
There was a similar thing with CPS 2100s at Sports Authorities in 2004. I can't remember precisely, but there were tons of them and I think they were selling for around $7. I guess Sports Authority bought too many CPS 2100s and wanted to get rid of them.
Duxburian wrote:Oddly, the NIC more or less takes the exact opposite opinion - that Hasbro's innovation in the Nerf brand has stagnated and their prices have soared out of control. I would be willing to bet that their surge in revenue is more accurately explained by moving from $20-30 top price points to $60-80 top price points (while Buzz Bee has remained in the $20s). Hasbro has discovered that you can rehash an old product and charge 2-3x more for it than the original. That said, there is enough demand that people are snapping this stuff up, so they are doing more than just raising prices.
Nothing you've said I disagree with, but I think you and I are using the word "innovation" in different senses. Hasbro has introduced a lot of new types of blasters, e.g., flywheel blasters were limited to off brands in the early 2000s as far as I know, but they have a significant following now. I think Hasbro stagnated more recently, yes, by over the past decade there have been major innovations which definitely have contributed to the expansion of the market. And once the demand is there, they can increase the price, etc.
Most of the new types of water blasters we've seen since the early 2000s have been from Buzz Bee Toys. For example, consider prechargers and diaphragms. But I don't really think of these as major innovations, as they seem to have been attempts to make a CPS competitor without using CPS patents, and they never were better than or even very different from CPS. Hasbro has had some interested ideas too (using cold water is one) but most of their ideas have been basically gimmicks like the Hydroblade.
Duxburian wrote:I mean, think about why we still field XP 150s - the range is average, the output is mediocre, refilling is awkward. But, it has unique qualities - the trigger speed, the huge pump, the juicy stream. That, and how they can withstand 20 years and tens of thousands of shots and still be in better internal condition than a 3 month old Waterlord. There are modern blasters in its class that far surpass its stats, but it's the intangibles that still power 150s by them. Buzz Bee still doesn't engineer streams that compare to these two decade old Larami nozzles. Shoot them side-by-side and note the visible difference. Likewise, Buzz Bee's elastic technology doesn't launch streams with the "oomph" of legacy CPS, even when Buzz Bee is using true CPS. Blasters like the Gorgon perform on par with some CPS, but they encounter technical problems and break down. Blasters like the Gargantua perform well, but are missing something...those intangibles of internal engineering and external design that bring on-field success and form bonds between users and blasters that transcend generations.
I think some of this comes down to the age groups the companies are targeting. In the 90s, my guess is that Larami assumed that older kids would be using the water guns too. The water guns made now frequently have bad ergonomics for anyone older than 12. And I imagine the power is limited by cost and the strength of the users, so if you're designing for a 12 year old, the blaster will be weaker than if you're designing for a teenager or adult.
Also, I've read some people suggest that bladders get stronger as they age. This might be true for age alone, but I strongly doubt it's true with use. Use only wears out the bladder best I can tell. The age factor might help explain why Buzz Bee's true CPS line seems underpowered.