Sure its a sport. The most ive done is shot around with my friends with a 20 dollar wal-mart gun, but it was pretty fun. People get pretty into that, and many people play it, I'd say its quite a thrilling sport.
I guess its alright, but not as good as paintball. The only better thing about airsoft is you can get like shotguns and stuff, which would be fun. But most of the times you cant even feel yourself getting hit with the airsoft unless its against bare skin or tight clothing. Its kinda better for war sims, cuz the guns look realler, but again, half the time you dont know if your hit, and they hurt less.
Well, if you actually play airsoft with a sizable community, you'll get the chance to be shot at with the upgraded guns at 400+ FPS (not the wallmart see through plastics ) and 550+ FPS if they're sniper rifles. Chances are those who say they don't feel it never played around the big guns
I'm not a fan of paintball with the community that it brings. Airsoft is more of an honor sport with honorable players. It's way cheaper as well (once you get the gun and equipment.) I used to play paintball constantly before i went airsoft btw
Airsoft here in the Philippines is huge. We even have a National Competition in Close Quarter Battle format where the muzzle velocity limit is 450fps. Getting shot at in a close proximity, you will not just feel getting hit, it might even leave you with a scar. I've seen people getting shot at where the BB's penetrated the gloves or even the rubber part of the mask/goggles.
For me, airsoft is much better that paintball. Airsoft is a game of honesty, its a gentleman's game where you have to trust those you play against to be honest to admit being hit. If they don't declare getting hit, saying they didn't feel the bb, then it will be time to take out my m14 and shower them with bbs at a rate of about 2 thousand rounds/minute with a muzzle velocity of 580fps.