If you play video games you’re usually going to be sitting, at least until we get fancy holodecks that we can run around in. But before that future comes, most gamers are going to be sitting, and with professional gaming getting more massive each year, your gaming gear is what is going to differentiate you from the rest. With that in mind, I sat down (literally) with Justin from Playseat America to see what went into a few of the latest Playseat models.
First off, an introduction. Playseat initially started making seats for gamers playing racing and flying games, to work in tandem with racing wheels or flight sticks. Today, they have become the standard not just for video games, but for commercial uses ranging from being used in NASCAR vehicles to flight simulators. If you’re going to be involved in any competitive racing or flying, or you want something to base your gaming rig around, you need a Playseat.
The first seat that Justin had me try out was their Playseat FlightSeat, as pictured here:
Flying with a joystick was something relatively new to me, but I still managed to get through the tutorial of Ace Combat without exploding. The controllers were just far enough on either side of the seat that I could keep my arms relaxed. I didn’t need to extend them at some awkward angle to get a proper position. The support of the back was just right, which is a trait I noticed in all of Playseat’s products. They have somehow found the perfect balance between comfort and support; it allows you to spend long spans of time sitting without feeling like you are hurting your body. The chair is also adjustable, but doesn’t recline too much. I don’t know that you’d want to recline, because you still need to reach the controls, but it does takes away from the chair’s versatility.
Next up was one of Playseat’s Evolution series seats. This particular seat was an example of their partnership with the highly-rated racing series Forza Motorsport. Introducing the Playseat Evolution Forza Motorsport Edition:
From the moment I first sat down, I felt like I was in a racecar. I could envision myself actually in the car as I raced down the streets with my hands tightly gripping the wheel. The seat keeps you upright and alert, yet still allows you to hunker down and bear into turns. No wonder it’s the seat of choice for iRacers around the world. For leagues that are on the cusp of growing into a professional gaming industry, high-quality products like these are going to be what keep you in the race. Anyone without some sort of professionally-made seat is going to be left behind.
I could imagine Playseat’s racing seats being used with the Oculus Rift to really put you in the car. In my opinion, the combination would be the closest you could get to being in a racecar without actually spending the hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy one. Justin mentioned that some people who really bore into their turns noticed a slight rocking, which I didn’t believe at first. The seat has some substantial weight, and I had to take both hands off the wheel to rock it. Nevertheless, it’s an issue that will be addressed in the next iteration of the seat.
Finally, Justin went to the wall where I saw a collapsible chair propped up and showed me the Playseat Challenge:
The Challenge is Playseat’s answer for the gamer who doesn’t have the space for a heavier, less portable seat. It can be folded up and tucked under a bed or coffee table. Or maybe you want to play head-to-head against a friend in their home. Imagine how intimidating it would be to be holding a controller while someone else has a full steering wheel and pedals next to you. It would be a particularly great addition to a dorm room, since it can be collapsed or brought out in just a minute or two. It even has straps that can latch your equipment down so your pedals don’t get kicked out from under your feet. However, the Challenge’s collapsible frame doesn’t seem to be as sturdy as the Evolution series, and it would be unreasonable to expect it to be. This is more of a minimal entrance to higher-level racing – one that allows you to still get the feel for a more realistic take on video game controls without investing huge sums.
Admittedly, Playseat’s equipment is largely aimed at the more serious gamer, with both the quality and price to match. However, their quality has earned them partnerships with a variety of high-end companies that aren’t just limited to the gaming industry. Playseat has partnered Logitech, Microsoft, and Sony, as well as professional NASCAR drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., so you know you’re getting the best. Deals with Major League Gaming are said to be in the works, so you might see more of them popping up in live video streams of professional gaming.
If you’re interested in learning more or purchasing Playseat equipment, check out their website at http://playseatamerica.com/. Playseats are available at most major electronics retailers, so if you want to step up your racing or flying game, test out a seat and tell us how you like it!