E3 2013: Playseat brings deeper immersion to gaming seats [Butt-on]

Playseat Challenge at E3 2013

The foldable Playseat Challenge

I have the X Rocker Mesh at home for gaming in my office. It’s an absolutely simple surface to sit on while playing games, and works enough to get the job done. I had always gamed on my couch, so switching to a gaming-specific chair was new to me. I’m fine with the X Rocker for a quick solution, but that taste of a gaming chair left me hungry for something a little more dedicated and comfortable.

When I heard Playseat was going to be at E3, I happily made my way to their booth to follow up on some of the newer products they’ve been developing. Hey, guess what? Gaming chairs can be pretty nice!

Walking up to the Playseat stand, the first thing on display is their new Challenger seat. The chair, which lets you fold it up and stow it into a corner or a closet, is made of a simple tubular frame and suspension materials. That may not seem plush, but the seating angle designed by the Playseat team and baked into the Challenger makes for a surprisingly comfortable seating position. It’s a combination of a slouch position and a racing seat, with the cushion kicked up at a nice angle and the steering wheel mount in a great location — no, you don’t have to keep a steering wheel mounted. The platform can be popped right off. The seat is adjustable all around with velcro straps loosening or tightening the lumbar and the armrests.

Playseat Challenger at E3

*Super nice fold-up action

And it’s super light, too. That’s incredibly important for people who need to clean up before guests come over, or if their kids are running around the house uncontrolled.

The company was also revealing a new conceptual seat. Known as the “Science Concept”, the seat takes the form of a task chair, designed especially for those that sit at their PCs gaming for long periods of time. The concept’s orange and white dual tone colors were striking compared to any other seat I’ve seen in the past, for consumer purchase at least. Its insert is designed in sections, allowing for optimal and adjustable lumbar support.

Playseat Science Concept E3 2013

Science Concept

The frame is completely made of steel, both painted in white enamel or brushed. The shoulders of the seat are taken away to allow for the user to reach around without needing to swivel the seat. A lot of this was thanks to the new angular design language that the company is aiming to incorporate. The sharper angles and modern aesthetic push the idea that a gaming seat is no longer just meant to be functional, but something that is good looking as well, and will fit just as nicely in a living room as the other furniture there.

The head restraint is tilted forward to better match with the way gamers lean in towards their screens, I was told. It was a little uncomfortable when upright, but the moment I leaned back it seemed to feel like it was in the right spot. The leather is surprisingly supple as well, and though it was a little stiff to sit in that’s okay: being just a concept meant that it was designed as an icon rather than a real product. Though, there are many ideas in the concept that the company would like to eventually add to their future products.

Playseat Science Concept E3 2013

The rear of the Science Concept

Inside the deeper workings of the booth, Playseat was showing its brand new Immersion lounge chair.

Playseat Immersion E3 2013

Playseat Immersion, image courtesy Playseat

The seat, which uses what Playseat calls “SV” technology (for “sound and vibration”), allows connection to various audio inputs from devices. These can be made wirelessly (bluetooth) or via cords, and allow music and sound to be piped into the seat for various effects. In the head rest reside two speakers, allowing for surround sound. And, when audio is piped through the cushion, the seat rumbles and vibrates. It’s not a new concept, but Playseat makes it a point to include higher-quality components, pairing with audio components companies, to deliver better sound quality and effects.

The cloth seat (because leather would suck after a long, static session of Call of Duty: Ghosts) is designed to look like a lounge chair, fitting in with many modern design lounge seats you might find in a West Elm catalog.

Overall, I came away impressed with what I saw. Very few booths at E3 contain final “products” that we’re able to get our hands on and really try out. Sitting in the Playseat chairs wasn’t going to blow my mind like Destiny did, but it did reinforce the idea that dedicated game seating design was maturing well past just being racing seats or $40 pillows. These newest seats are geared towards any kind of game, and the technology in them is reaching to create more immersive experiences for all of us.

Author: Dalibor Dimovski

Dali is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of SideQuesting, as well as the co-Founder of CarDesignFetish and the founder of MakLink. Dali is also a car designer, deejay, and introductory beer-brewer.

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