Worr Game Products
Worr Game Products (WGP) was a manufacturer of paintball markers and equipment based originally in Corona, California. It was best known for its Autococker line of paintball markers, which used pneumatically actuated closed bolt operations when most other markers used open bolt formats. Because of this WGP gained a cult following that lasted until the company's demise in 2008. Founded in 1987 by Bud Orr ("Worr" is a play on Orr's last name) out of his garage, WGP was one of the oldest companies in the sport. Bud started out making Nelson clone pumps, first the Commando and then the Ranger. He later decided to switch to a more versatile design, at which he started making Sheridan clones with removable barrels, dubbed the "Sniper." Orr later attached pneumatics to the front of the Sniper II, and the Autococker was born. Later his son Jeff Orr took over company operations and ran WGP until its purchase by Jarden Corporation in 2007.
Age of the Autococker
Through the 90s the paintball tournament scene was dominated by Autocockers and Airgun Designs' Automag. WGP released increasingly streamlined versions of its gun and secured its niche as a high-end manufacturer. One of its marketing strategies was to tout the supposed accuracy advantage of its autocockers, owing to their closed bolt design. This claim came under fire by 2000 but the company continued to call the autococker the "most accurate marker in the world". The popularity of the autococker spawned many aftermarket companies that produced markers and parts similar to autococker guns. As WGP trademarked the word "autococker" these guns became known as "cockers". Several well- known companies such as Smart Parts and Planet Eclipse released high-end upgrades for autocockers.
Purchase by K2
In 2004, the Orr family sold WGP to K2, the company that owned the JT, Viewloader, and Brass Eagle brands. This merger led to a new direction for WGP as it attempted to make the leap from a small and high end company to one that produced more affordable products as it struggled to keep its place at the top of the paintball scene. Some of its moves after the merger such as the lack of pro sponsorships, the introduction of the Trilogy line and the dropping of the E2 frame were met with some hostility by hardcore autococker fans. However, the move to cheaper markers arguably increased the company's sales at a time when it was rapidly losing market share.
Decline of WGP
WGP and its marker, the autococker, remained one of the dominant platforms of paintball marker through the 1990s. However, the gun and its company saw a slow decline as a result of the industry trend towards simpler, lighter open bolt markers. With the releases of such markers as the Angel, the Intimidator, the Shocker SFT, and the Dye Matrix, WGP was increasingly hard-pressed to keep up with new trends in technology and thus saw its sponsorships with pro teams drop from many to none at all by 2007.
Bud Orr was a member of the ASTM Paintball Committee and advocated banning full auto capable markers. He stated publicly that Worr Game Products will never produce a full auto capable marker at a time when other manufacturers were offering full auto capable markers.
Adding to WGP's hardship was its purchase by K2, the owner of the Brass Eagle brand, and the exit of the company's founder Bud Orr in 2004. Also during this time WGP filed several patent infringement lawsuits against third party manufacturers of autococker parts. This move led to the disappearance of the autococker upgrade scene as well as the decision of Eclipse, who to this point made the electronics for WGP guns, to drop its support and start its own line of markers. As a result Worr's 05-06 lineup of guns had electronic frames made by WGP that were widely regarded as inferior to PE's Eclipseblade frame series. The popular Karnivor marker was discontinued in 2006, leaving the brand without a true high-end gun. Finally, WGP introduced the Trilogy series in an effort to enter the casual market and compete with Smart Parts' newly released Ion. While fairly well received by most players the trilogy line was heavier and more expensive than the Ion and was criticized for its lack of compatibility with some typical autococker upgrades. The line was dropped in 2007 after a three-year run although they were widely available for several years after that.
Final markers and closing
Faced with declining sponsorship and tough competition from other companies WGP spent 2007 planning a resurgence. The successor to the Karnivor, the "Worrlord", was released as the Autococker SR, WGP's last marker. In 2008 WGP's parent company K2 was bought by Jarden and during this confusion as well as the onset of the 2008 financial crisis WGP struggled to market its new gun to customers unaccustomed to the autococker name. Two open bolt markers, the Synergy and the MG7, were released but suffered from a lack of popularity and familiarity. WGP, whose name was once synonymous with tournament play, now found itself a pariah in a new environment. The Jeff Orr Limited Edition marker line was released in 2008 along with the others. These were created by Jeff Orr in limited quantities and used Eclipse frame technology. The SR, on the other hand, refined and streamlined the Karnivor design by concealing the pneumatics and including a 90 degree frame with software by Tadao Technologies. Both markers were accepted well but they were not enough to save WGP from the increasingly dire financial state of paintball. Jeff Orr left the company after completing the JOLE line of markers and the other guns including the SR stopped production at the end of 2008. There was no official press release concerning the end of WGP but its remaining markers and parts were sold off to smaller distributors and its customer service and headquarters were incorporated into the new parent company, JT USA. With WGP the last large producer of the autococker had vanished but small companies continue to make autococker parts and upgrades.
Markers produced by WGP
- Commando (Nelson pump)
- Ranger (Nelson Pump)
- Sniper I (Sheridan Pump)
- Sniper II (Sheridan Pump)
- Autococker (closed-bolt semi)
- Minicocker (closed-bolt semi)
- Sniper III (Sheridan Pump)
- Ranger (blowback semi)
- BOSS (blowback semi)
- Worrmachine (blowback semi/electro)
- VF-Tactical (tactical mech)
- Black Magic 02-04 (mechanical)
- Superstock 04 (mid-level electro)
- Orracle, Mini Orracle(tournament level mech/electro)
- Karnivor STO (tournament level electro)
Produced after K2 buyout
- Trilogy (Entry level mech/electro)
- Prostock/Superstock 05 (Mid-level mech/electro)
- Black Magic 06 (tournament level midblock electro)
- Blackout (Limited production BM06 derivative)
Final lineup as of 2008 closing
- Synergy (open bolt blowback electro)
- MG-7 (Entry level spool valve electro)
- Jeff Orr Limited Edition Pump (Midblocked Karnivor pump)
- JOLE Series I-III (Limited edition tournament level midblock electro)
- Autococker SR (Tournament Level midblock electro, last gun produced by WGP)