Jack Wood is Lead Designer at Planet Eclipse and he is also the brain behind the ETHA EMEK. We took some questions together and asked Jack about the EMEK and the idea behind it.
You’re known for creating high-end markers that are beautiful, super-reliable and have industry-leading support. So why the decision to make a field marker?
Well we have been asked for years and years by our sales guys to produce a good, reliable field rental marker. But we never felt we had the ability to produce something with the same level of quality that we demand from our products at a price that the Paintball parks would be willing to pay.
But with the method of construction we used for Etha2, and then the technology we employed for Gmek, combined we could make a very very reliable, very high quality, amazing shooting marker for a price close to that of other field rental markers. It was basically just having all the pieces of the puzzle to make a product we were happy putting the Eclipse name on.
Do you think it is important to have good quality and reliable equipment for those experiencing paintball for the first time, in order for the industry to be competitive with other sports and hobbies?
100%!! I think this is the most important thing we can do to help the sport. The more I looked into the rental market for our marker, the more I realised that players coming for the first time to play paintball very rarely get a good experience. I started watching some videos posted by famous Youtubers of their first paintball experiences.
They want to go there and have a good time. They look forward to it for weeks before. But then they arrive and all the equipment is dirty or broken and then their marker doesn't work during the first game. First of all, that person is not having a good time. He isn't going to go back. Then they will tell their friends they didn't have a good time, the equipment was poor, the place was a mess and dirty. Then on top of that, some of these people posting YouTube videos have 5 million subscribers! They watch the video and go, "hey, Paintball looks terrible.
Man muss sich vor Augen führen welche Aussage Millionen von Menschen impliziert wird: Paintball sieht schrecklich aus, ist teuer und macht keinen Spaß. Steck Dein Geld lieber in eine andere Aktivität.
I'm not wasting my money trying that". It's just not good for the future of the sport when there are so many other activities competing for that money. Keeping your rental fleet up and running should be priority number one, if the EMEK can help with that then great, all of the other things also need to be good to make the whole experience amazing and Paintball is just that…….. AMAZING !
<#3 Paintball.de >
What are the main benefits for a Paintball Park to make the leap to the Emek?
There are a lot. The biggest one has to be customer satisfaction. The Emek is light, easy to handle and operate. It very rarely breaks paint. The bolt system is the same design as that in our super high-end markers that win World Cup's and World Championships. It is designed to be very efficient, so you can get lots of shots from the air tank, and very gentle on paintballs so customers aren't breaking paintballs in the marker and the Ref's aren't spending lots of time cleaning them.
Then of course they are very reliable. They are not a blow-back marker, so they do not need to be re-cocked and are not effected by cold weather. We tested the Emek between -20c and +40c so they will work in any condition. They are very easy to maintain and very durable. I don't think there are any weak points to the design or construction. It is just a great marker.
Will this be field only? Or with there be a version for general release?
There will be a retail version and a rental version. The only difference will be the packing.
Why is it important for this to also be available for general release? Won’t this be too low on the equipment scale for an own-gunner?
Absolutely not! This is going to be a very high performing marker, at a very low price. It will be a perfect marker for those people who want to play mech occasionally or join a rental group with friends.
Maybe they already have a CS2 or 160R and love the way the Gamma Core shoots and want a mechanical marker that shoots the same, but without batteries and the high rates of fire. It is a high performance fun marker at a very good price. It is the kind of thing people will buy as a spare marker to lend to friends or to just have for fun.
Your making the EMEK in both 50cal and 68cal correct? Where do you see 50cal fitting into the German market and Worldwide?
I am a big believer in 50Cal. Here at Planet Eclipse UK we find it crazy that the German Paintball parks and players do not use 50Cal exclusively. There is no comparison for me. This is not just for Paintball parks, but also for own-gunners. If I was given the choice, which would I rather shoot? 68cal at 220fps or 50cal at 300fps? There is no comparison!
But the real benefit to the global paintball market with 50cal is for the new rise in low-impact paintball. The evidence from the fields in the US and UK that have switched to 50cal is unquestionable. Customer satisfaction is much higher. Return customer numbers are much higher. Referrals are much higher. And that is before you add in the fact that they now have a younger customer base that they can attract. Birthday parties, clubs and groups can all play now with the age limit being lowered due to low impact. It is a new market to explore and hopefully one that will bring more young people to the game.
What do you think the future is for fields and parks? What do they need to do to win the affections of people looking for something to do with their spare time?
Make the experience better. It is simple. People are time-poor. The free time they have, and the free money they have, they want to feel like they have used their time and their money well and enjoyed themselves. People will only feel like that if they have a good experience. they will tell their friends and their family. They will post it on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
They will come back with different friends and play again. Maybe buy their own equipment and join a club. Give them a positive experience, and they will come back. It's simple to me. But still many Paintball parks fall well below the basic standards. Which is a shame, because those Paintball parks send the wrong message about what we are trying to do and how great paintball is. And that spoils it for us all.
Thank you very much Jack Wood for taking the time to answer our questions.