Both airsoft and laser tag are considered a sport and a hobby and have millions of supporters across the globe. When it comes to their comparison, they differ more than some would think at first, yet both sports are based on entertainment and have their own fanbase.
I am a fan of airsoft for reasons that don’t exist in laser tag, but I think that both sports can bring an almost equal amount of fun to the players.
In short, the biggest difference between airsoft and laser tag is the equipment used for playing. Airsoft is played with replicas of real guns that propel plastic BBs, while Laser tag uses lasers and laser detectors to achieve the same without physical contact.
If you are new to any of these sports let me explain all the big differences and touch on the business part to see which sport is more popular and earns more.
Laser tag is played with infrared-emitting guns which shot an infrared signal to the device players wear in form of a vest, a helmet, or any other piece of gear with sensors. When the signal passes in a straight direction and hits one of the sensors, the score is automatically adjusted.
Airsoft on other hand isn’t so technologically dependable and relies on a physical plastic BB hitting the target. To achieve this, airsoft guns need to have decent velocity and good hop-up units so the BBs can travel far enough and reach the target.
As you can see, in airsoft you need safety gear to reduce the impact from hurling BBs and thus protect the head and skin. On other hand, Laser Tag is painless and you can play it in a shirt.
How difficult is it to cheat?
Laser Tag removes the odds of cheating by using strict technology which doesn’t allow you to fake hits as the laser registers a hit with the help of a computer. This is in my opinion, the best advantage of laser tag over airsoft as this would indeed be a wonderful thing to have in airsoft.
If we could remove the cheating in airsoft, the whole sport would prosper on another level even greater than where it is now. This issue may not even always be about people cheating intentionally, but you sometimes just don’t feel the hit if the BB hits a part of the gear from afar.
In laser tag, you can also know who hit you during the match as all the data is saved and can be checked after the match which is phenomenal. In airsoft, you often have no clue who hit you and you may think it must have been the wind.
Due to mentioned differences in gear and rules, airsoft events greatly differ from laser tag events. Airsoft is a broader term, and while there’s classic airsoft there are also branches of airsoft that are possible only because of the unique airsoft nature.
MilSim is one of those branches and it gets airsoft in the direction of simulating real military scenarios using airsoft equipment such as gun replicas, uniforms, helmets, explosives, special devices, and any other military equipment you can think of that exist as replica. Milsim is then played to be as realistic as possible, so players try to replicate the real soldier’s loadout as close as possible and the games are sometimes played for days and include other military activities such as pure information providing, securing the location without too much action while planning ahead of the enemy and even keeping a watch while the rest of the team sleeps.
Besides MilSim there are also LARP events that can embody any creative idea the organization can come up with such as cowboys vs aliens as there indeed are realistic 19. century airsoft guns and rifles. Even the classic airsoft matches such as capture the flag or defend a base allow for lots of creativity and options on how you want to approach the role and playstyle as the airsoft market is huge.
Laser tag on the other hand misses the mentioned opportunities as it simply doesn’t go as deep with the role-playing part nor is the market as big. The point of laser tag is to have fun in a field by getting straight into the action with laser guns that minimize the odds of cheating and after the play, you get back to your ordinary stuff until the next time without spending hours researching new gear or upgrading 20 of your guns in the arsenal for different loadouts.
What’s more popular?
Laser tag has grown a lot in the last decade as profit margins can be quite nice, yet airsoft is way more popular and has more dedicated players.
Airsoft simply demands more from a player than Laser tag, so we could say that Laser Tag is made so everyone can play it completely casually. Airsoft on another hand has a bigger spectrum of opportunities and for some good reason, people find it cool based on its extreme popularity on Youtube as popular channels have millions of subscribers, while the same can’t be said for Laser Tag. The same thing can be said for the markets, as currently, airsoft offers so many replicas of real things while Laser Tag is very fundamental in what it offers.
Simply put, airsoft is a more searched topic on Google and Youtube but as the trend for Laser Tag grows things may change in the future. Laser tag and gel blasters are more searched topics in Australia as current Australian laws forbid airsoft and people are looking for a substitute.
If you like airsoft you may like Laser Tag and vice versa, so try both sports and see what you like more. There are obvious advantages to Airsoft just as there are to Laser Tag, so it’s pointless saying what’s better.
Advantages of Laser Tag over airsoft
Wastage of plastic BBs and gas is another big thing that makes Laser Tag future-friendly just as its futuristic appearance. Airsoft BBs can pollute the ground and remain there for years before they decompose.
Although, Co2 emission from gas guns is by no means an issue for climate change it can become quite costly as airsoft guns need lots of gas to operate, especially the blowback types. Outside of this, there’s so much to collect in airsoft and the cost of BBs adds up over time if you play often, so airsoft costs quite a bit if you dig deep while Laser Tag requires starting equipment and electricity.
Interesting game mods
The coolest advantage of Laser Tag is that it’s easy to program game mods by controlling the input and output of devices. You can create algorithms for specific game mods like healing when a player hits others as vitality points are directly transferred or anything similar. It’s impossible to disagree on where the hit landed if the sensors detected it which not only removes the cheating but opens new opportunities for game mods.
Advantages of Airsoft over Laser Tag
Bigger market and stuff to collect
Airsoft has a huge market in which the best brands compete leading to numerous options for load-outs to collect.
Best realism of any shooting games
Nothing comes close to airsoft when it comes to realism, it simply beats paintball, gel blasters, and laser tag. Airsoft is made to replicate real-life battle scenarios and it’s the closest we have to console war games such as COD or Battlefield. Just take a look at some of these realistic airsoft replicas and tell me they don’t look amazing.
More popularity and ways to play
More fields ranging from outdoor to indoor, a bigger and more dedicated community, and a diversity of roles are what make airsoft stand out from the rest.