Developed in cooperation with the gaming community

7/5/2019 | 3 min. read

At RECARO, we wanted to develop the best gaming chairs on the market, so one of the most important resources was the experience of and feedback from real gamers.

Whether you’re a casual player, a demanding gamer, or an eSports professional: everyone should feel comfortable on our RECARO Exo and be able to deliver top performance. That’s why we involved the gaming community before the first line was drawn. “We actually started with the famous blank sheet of paper in 2017,” recalls Djunianto “Kiki” Ko, who is responsible for the design of the new gaming seat. With the very first sketches and prototypes, “co-creation” sessions were set up with members of the community: not only were individual gamers consulted, regardless of whether they were long-term or casual gamers; we also worked with organizations such as Magdeburg eSports and the eSports team of VfB Stuttgart. This was the only way we could ensure that the entire spectrum of the gaming community had its say—and that the unique demands of gamers could be combined with ergonomics and comfort. Over the entire development period, we spent more than 100 hours in these co-creation sessions.

Sitting correctly, round after round

After the Q&A sessions, the participants were able to play extensively at the gaming stations we had set up. “This is where we had our first key experience,” says lead designer “Kiki” Ko. The RECARO team wanted to know from players how they preferred to sit. The answer that came up time and again was, “relaxed, chilled out, comfortably reclined.” But when we observed the same people during their gaming sessions, most of them sat transfixed in front of the screen. Some leaned forward and were almost on the edge of their seat, some bolt upright, but almost all of them remained motionless. This was a special challenge that our ergonomics experts faced. After all, static sitting is strenuous on the body in the long run, and concentration can suffer as a result—all suboptimal when you want to defeat a difficult opponent.

So we didn’t just design a seat mechanism with four basic positions tailored to gamers; we used all our expertise to design the entire gaming seat to optimally support the body. In this way, we enable gamers and eSports enthusiasts to maintain a static yet “healthy” sitting posture, even over longer periods of time. The pronounced side bolsters with integrated lumbar and upper iliac crest support keep the gamer in an ergonomically optimal position, while the swing function relaxes and relieves the intervertebral discs during breaks in play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaQVuQlrZ6o

What became clear once again during these co-creation sessions was that playing with a keyboard is different from playing with a controller—especially when it comes to the position of the arms. With that in mind, the armrests of the RECARO Exo offer widely adjustable 5D or 4D functionality, providing the perfect support needed in each situation—whether you’re playing with a mouse and keyboard, controller, or mobile phone touchscreen. They can even be folded away completely to free up more space.

World off, game on: shaped for more immersion

Gamers want to concentrate fully on the game world and envelop themselves completely in it. The technical term for this is “immersion,” and it came up time and again in the co-creation sessions. For this reason, the RECARO team designed the contours of the seat shell and backrest in such a way that they discreetly shield you from the outside world while you play. You sit more “in” the seat than “on” it. This benefits not only professionals in eSports tournaments, but also solo adventurers looking to lose themselves in the story of the game. This concept is also echoed in the name of the gaming seat: since it envelops the player like an exoskeleton, we have christened our seat the RECARO Exo.

Beta test at Gamescom

We first introduced ourselves to the gaming world at Gamescom 2018. In a separate area, selected booth visitors had the opportunity to play a few levels on a close-to-production prototype. In the follow-up discussions, these gamers told us what they thought of the seat and where they felt there was potential for improvement. We also collected a lot of feedback online. In the run-up to the event, more than 5,000 users were able to express their opinions and share their experiences in more than 15 rounds of surveys. Around this time, our Discord channel also established itself as an important source of feedback. Even today, our chat is the fastest and most direct way to get in touch with us, leave feedback, and contribute your own ideas.

The perfect gaming seat can only be successfully designed and developed by and with gamers. That's why our designers and ergonomics experts gathered the experiences of professional gamers and casual gamers even before we drew the first sketch. We were in contact with the community throughout the entire development process. We maintain this customer proximity on our Discord channel.

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