Paintball Evolution

This article may not completely correlate with true paintball history. I started own career 2016 and have collected data bits and pieces wherever found of interesting technological development.

This article will continuously be updated as I learn of new history worth to be mentioned.

Product life cycle has four different segments manufacturers can focus on. This article attempts to describe these stages in paintball.

  1. Innovation: To capitalize new game changing elements in the sport of paintball
  2. Differentiation: When innovations either die or survive and becomes industry standard.
  3. Maturity: Now production cost is optimized and brand values maximized when competing against others
  4. Decline: When a certain generation is closed and no longer produced. Remenenses can still be in active use.


Age of innovation (OLD SCHOOL)


007 Nel-Spot was created, it was followed by Nel-Spot 707

(1980 Airsoft guns are sold in Japan)


First game of Paintball is played


”The Survival Game” franchise starts


The first NSG National Championship

Age of differentiation (OLD SCHOOL)


PGP was born, Nelspots became customised with pump handles, magazine extensions and gravity feeds as well as barrel extensions.


The sport grew internationally and related accessories begun to emerge. Paintball harnesses, swab barrel cleaners and plastic face shields to fit under the goggles.


Homemade customisations was seen on tournaments.

Constant Air increases the volume of traditional CO2 Cartillages


Tippmann pivots into paintball industry and introduces fully automatic guns, and developing the semi auto as tournament standard. CO2 tank is developed into a pin valve system.

Paintball sizes is under evaluation 0.68, 0.62 and 0.50

Paintball customisation garages turns into manufacturing industries.

Maturity (OLD SCHOOL) – New school emerges


Smart Parts builds their first marker, BOSS


WGP Autococker enters the market

JT pivots into Paintball goggle market and with increased safety banning traditional hardware safety glasses. They also improved Paintball safety with additional protective gear.

Bouncing Betty, was released from Pro-Star Labs

Macroline and asa becomes standard

CCI, release the first Phantom pump paintball gun

After much debate, .68 caliber becomes the standard paintball size. Over time, 300 feet per second (300 fps) is recognized as the maximum safe velocity for outdoor paintball play


NPPL was created


Planet Eclipse produces parts

Dave Youngblood Enterprises is found (DYE)


ESPN televises the NPPL world cup in woodsball environment


The games was played at even grass turf with built bunkers

Smart Parts electrical marker, Schocker


The games was played on fixed hyperball field

 Smart Parts introduces the first electro pneumatic marker thus eliminating Tippmanns as a sub air tournament marker. Tippmanns pivot into rental and wodsball market.

Decline (OLD SCOOL) – new school age of innovation

A nelspot is no longer competing at national tournaments. Incremental innovation took the markers into new user segments. 


Sub air field was introduced

Tippmann 98 world leading rental marker was introduced.

Smart Parts Shocker Sport

Smart Parts ”All American” 2 piece barrel


Tippmann 98 was reinvented as custom model

Smarty Parts Impulse


Tippmann A5 was introduced

Planet eclipse E blade, the last of autococker


Dye Introduces LCD

Smart Patrs Shocker SFT


Greg Hastings Paintball Game for Xbox

Dye DM platform begins


Planet Eclipse introduces an popet EGO and spool GEO

Smart Parts Ion


Planet Eclipse Etek

Smart Parts Shocker NXT (07)

Smart Parts Files a Lawsuit against the paintball industry using their inventions


Tippmann X7 was introduced

Planet Eclipse Etek2

Smart Parts Ion XE


Tippmann 98 Custom platinum


Tippman TPX/TiPX

Planet Eclipse Etek3

.50 caliber format is attemting to revolutionise the industry


Tippmann X7 Phenom

Beside the DM series Dye releases also NT10

Smart Parts is out of business -> GOG emerges


Tippmann A5 gets an update

Dye NT11

Planet Eclipse releases their last EGO


Tippmann Crossover, mechanical and electronical marker with woodsball trigger.

Tippmann  Flip Top -12

Planet eclipse releases CSL

Planet Eclipse Etek  4

.50 caliber paintball stagnates as kids game format thru JT splat Masters


Planet Eclipse discontinues EGO platform and replaces it with yet today best popet LV1


Planet Eclipse Etek 5


Planet Eclipse LV1.1 Pro with improved shaft barrel and further optimisations


Tippmanns first electrical only marker, Stryker, still intended for woodsplay. Later also a cheap magfed/hopperfed TCM was released.

Planet Eclipse discontinues GEO3.5 and replaces it with GTEK R 160 with gamma core system

Empire launchers their EVS mask with HUD tracking system.

Dye DM is discontinued and replaced with M2 which was upgradeable with moss air and with i5 and eVoke system.

Virtue Spire III has low ball indicator built in (android app)


Virtue Spire 280 – Flip the lild of a spire3 and get 2 whole pods in the hopper

Planet Eclipse etha 2 – introduces a new eye system and gives tournament spesifications in an entrylevel marker.

Gmeck – A Gteck for woodsball, with no electronics in and a ”woodsball trigger”.

GOG Freak XL -freak insert sice increases from 5ich to 8 inch

Atom – 3D printed ammonition gives the posibility to play indoors withougt material distreass

Dye DSL – A mid level marker with all minimum requirements for tournament play

Valcen Code – attemts to do the same, incorporate a lot in an mid range marker.

Schocker XLS – Utilises the 8 inch inserts in its freak back

Tipmaan TCM – lightwight tacticool 98n killer with ambifeed (hopper/mag)

Push unite mask introduced – best adjustable mask on the market.

Mc Dev -Prime


Planet EclipseEmeck – simplified etha2 mechanical

schocker CVO – (RSX mechanical)

Tippmann raider – Empire Defender clone in stryker body

Dye M3 – ext reg adjustments removed.


Luxe X

MC Dev prime XTS


Geo 4.0 rebirth of IV-core platform

Smart parts shocker AMP


The ”saileffect” will bring the tree tagging sport into new pivoting levels. The old scool, woodsball equpment are long gone. The play arena is still played but with modern gear. The sport has also transformed into a new and safer fast paste segment, airball.

Paintball as a sport, is not in a decline, even thou the equipment may have reached its peak performance as they are designed today. Poppet markers are decreasing since the more silent spool valve markers have become almost as air efficient as poppet markers.

New game engines might emerge, maby not airsoft-AEG but perhaps other gas mixtures can reduce the operating preassure and increase consumtion efficiency. Despite that might be a more expensive variant of game it still might capture its audience as firtstrike ammo has done.

The sport is still young and forming. Tournament play has suffered from many different formats messing up a global unification. Millennium series tried a 2 pod limit in order to attract budget gamers into the sport but realized that there need to be more pods in the game in order to be intresting. In televised sports you have only one puck, ball or athlete to follow including stats. In paintball you have atleast 2000 balls to follow to top that you have to track also the location of ten guys on the field as well.

Perhaps the games would be easier to follow as when the sport got out from the woods into a fixed hyperball field (-97) as is the case in other sports. The layout is constantly changing why it is difficult to unify statistics from specific situations or bunker eliminations.



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