When videogames first became popular in the 1980s, the typical teen-aged player sat on the floor near the TV to play after school, often because the cords for controllers didn’t stretch far enough to reach the couch.
These days, serious gamers are many times adults who game on a computer or a console, all while sitting at their desk. Many play for fun. Others compete aggressively. And some even stream their games for an online audience to watch.
According to an Entertainment Software Association 2018 report, the average American gamer is 34 years old and 72 percent are over the age of 18. What’s even more surprising is that adult women represent a greater portion of the video game-playing population at 33 percent than do boys under 18 at just 17 percent.
This new era of gaming requires a rethinking of the gaming industry and the furniture that goes with it. Just as office furniture became more ergonomic when computers came along in the 1980s, it’s time for gaming furniture to get more serious about how gamers are using it.
Consider the following facts: The videogame industry earned $30.4 billion in 2016 in the U.S. alone, compared to Hollywood’s $11.6 billion in total domestic box office revenue that same year. And some video games can take anywhere from 12 to 20 hours to complete, far longer than the hour and 50 minutes spent in a Hollywood theater, while other, newer games last less than an hour with the option for it to be different every time you play—the game itself can literally change each time, keeping things fun and fresh.
That adds up to a lot of Americans spending a lot of time playing videogames.
The first thing to understand about this is that your body is not designed to stay in the same position for hours at a time, as you might while completing a side quest in “Red Dead Redemption 2.” That’s one reason why you tend to roll around in your sleep.
Office furniture manufacturers learned this years ago. A lot of traditional office chairs didn’t provide the kind of support and flexibility that you need to stay on your toes while working intensely, but as ergonomic designs with high backs, adjustable armrests and lumbar support became popular, people found they had fewer physical issues.
We haven’t been paying enough attention to how we design gaming furniture and experience shows that with more well-designed, high-performance ergonomic gaming chairs and stations, players will start competing at a whole new level. It’s not hard to see that with a more comfortable gaming chair comes better playing and more frequent or longer playing which means more competitive gaming.
Gamers without a well-designed, modern gaming chair are going to find themselves shifting around a lot, getting cramped and needing to stand up in the middle of their sessions, which can affect gameplay. And it’s a need that hasn’t really been met in the gaming furniture industry, which is why we took a very close look at high-quality executive office chairs for inspiration to create one of the first ergonomic gaming furniture lines ever called RESPAWN.
If you’re looking for a good gaming chair, a few things you’ll want: high backs, to give you more support; adjustable armrests, to accommodate different body types; and lumbar support for your lower back. Some gamers use big leather chairs, but we’ve found those can get very hot during a longer session, so we recommend a mesh backing to allow regular air flow.
This may all sound intense, but so is the sport of gaming. Videogames are no longer a pastime. They aren’t just a hobby. They’re a serious business.
Devoted gamers now prepare for e-sports tournaments, some of which have six-figure payouts and outperform many traditional sports on viewers and ad revenue. Even colleges across the country are launching e-sports leagues and offer scholarships to students who show a high proficiency in the sport of gaming. Meanwhile, professional video gamers are earning millions and retiring early.
Those gamers need furniture that’s as serious as they are, and the industry needs to be ready to provide it.