Cansoft guns don't mean shit. So where are these "cheap guns" that everyone is moaning about. I'd love to see them. When I look at these Cansoft guns, I see markups that are still 200-300%, just like the evil, illegal black guns. There are no cheap guns. There are only more easily accessible guns that are of significantly higher quality than previous all clear alternatives that were both cheap and total garbage. Cheap Aftermath, Crosman and Tactical Force clear garbage has been readily available long before the higher end cansoft guns have. They didn't kill airsoft before. Why do they now? ICS and G&G make higher quality guns that are good starting platforms for new players, and they're completely legal. Nothing wrong with that.
2 years ago when I started, I heard the same crew pissing and moaning that "cheap" China clones were the death of airsoft. Didn't happen then, and it certainly didn't dilute airsoft in any way that I could perceive. Guns were still ridiculously expensive and just as hard to get as the "good stuff", and as ridiculously overpriced (in terms of markup). It just allowed someone with a lower starting budget to get a halfway decent starter gun without having to sell their ass on a street corner to get it. And that's the market that these cansoft guns are now filling.
There is a larger proliferation of guns now with cansoft because people are legally permitted to import and sell them. It makes them more accessible to the general public. There are now an assload of online sources, as well as brick & mortar stores where one can walk in and buy these cansoft guns. They're still horribly overpriced because of a few importers that don't give 2 shits about the airsoft community, but rather to line their own pockets, decided to corner the market with certain brands, and have minimum pricing agreements in place with their retailers to fix the prices to maximize their profits. But they're now readily available.
And this brings me to where I think a big part of the problem lies here on ASC. ASC has become about turning a healthy profit now rather than to bettering the AS community. They'll let anyone who can fork out the retailer fee sell whatever the fuck they want in the classifieds, including the lowest end crapsoft on the market. A couple of years ago, these same dealers would have been shown the door so fast their heads would be spinning. Now as long as they can pay the retailer fee, they have no restrictions. That basically took what was a bar set high and removed it completely in the name of profit. The AV system is now MEANINGLESS when it comes to the retailer section. It serves no purpose whatsoever. Everything that is sold in the AV retailer section can easily and readily be purchased online from a variety of other (or the same) sources right here in Canada for the same price. For the private sales, AV still has value, but for the retailers, it means zip and just serves to legitimize someone selling crapsoft.
As was mentioned repeatedly by the wiser, more level-headed vets, the tool doesn't make the player. A shit player with a PTW will be as shitty as a shit player with a Kraken. A good player with a well maintened and tweaked Kraken will still own a shitty player with a PTW. Blaming the decline of the sport on the tool is retarded. I can show up at a game with a well painted G&G Cansoft gun, and it will make absolutely no difference in terms of looks or my performance as a player. Blaming clear plastic is rather short-sighted. It's more about the attitude and quality of the players than it is about the gun they're shooting. I've played with more total dickheads with high end guns far more often than I have with noobs with low end guns and are willing to learn and get into the game.
Anyway, that's just my rant. As you can tell, I went from spending my days here on ASC to now only occasionally visiting. A combination of the commercialization of ASC, the flame-fests, and noob-on-noob Q&A sessions that permeate the board just turned me off totally. This place went from being a great resource for players to becoming a place that bends over backwards to catering to the crapsoft kiddies. And at the other end of the scale, we have the elitist pricks who will spit at and belittle anyone who isn't sporting a $4000 gun loaded with all real steel accessories. You guys are equally responsible for ruining this place as the profit-oriented management and the kiddie crapsoft noobs are.