Gaming Chairs appeared on Massdrop polls in 2014. These polls quickly gained traction and lead to many successful drops on a great variety of brands and models.
In my opinion, these chairs became popular for the following reasons.
1. They're comfy. While most desirable office chairs are designed to maintain correct posture, they're not great for lounging. These racing chairs with thick foam, lay-flat reclining, and included cushions are the la-z-boys of the “office furniture” world.
2. They look pretty cool. While the colorways are usually loud and decidedly “gamer", the form of these chairs inspires a more cockpit-like experience. When you spend all day at an office, do you wanna go home and sit in another office chair at another desk? Or do you want to get into the cockpit of your battlestation? I'd take the latter, and that's what the design of these chairs inspires.
3. They're affordable. Where a top tier office (task) chair will run $800-$1200, a top tier Gaming Chair caps out around $400. These chairs make even more sense when you consider the generally unimpressive task chair options around $300 vs the gaming chair options at the same level. With gaming chairs, it usually feels like your money goes a lot further when it comes to comfort and immersion in your entertainment (cockpit point above).
These are the reasons gaming chairs became such a staple in our Tech community, but with every wave of popularity comes a wave of feedback. After selling thousands of Gaming Chairs, we've also seen thousands of discussion posts from community members detailing their experience with these products. These are the themes we extracted from thousands of discussion posts, hundreds of support tickets, and dozens of community reviews:
1. Build quality is generally an issue. Many brands seem to put aesthetics first and robust components second. Whether it's a cracked base because the alloy mixture was poorly toleranced, or a broken caster because they didn't test it against the weight rating of the gas spring, it's ultimately a lack of attention to detail that creates most of these problems.
2. Material quality is generally an issue. Low quality PU Leather (there's a huge spectrum), low quality plastics, and low quality foam are all things we regularly hear about. The tough thing about all of these problems is that you can't (or it's incredibly hard to) tell from pictures, and the related problems don't manifest in the first couple months of use. Because you can't tell from the pictures, buyers don't know, and it usually won't come up in reviews because they're generally not testing for multiple months before posting. For those reasons companies don't see an immediate impact on sales and the practices that produce these problems continue.
3. The colorways... nobody really likes them. They're tolerated, but nobody on Massdrop is posting about how excited they are for bright red, neon blue, and lime green furniture.
Understanding what our community likes about these chairs (comfort, form, affordability) and what they don't (poor build, cheap materials, loud colors), we approached AKRacing (the brand with the highest overall approval for gaming chairs on Massdrop) to create the Aero. A gaming chair built to the exacting standards our community demands, using top tier materials, and presented in a black on black colorway you won't regret when friends come over.
Diving into the details, where the foam in most gaming chairs is formed in a generic block and later carved into chair shapes, the foam in the Aero is Cold Molded. This means each foam piece is poured into it’s own mold and cold cured, creating a much denser and structurally sound foam piece. Where carved foam will start to degrade after 12-18 months, cold molded foam will maintain it's structure for 5+ years without issue.
Where most gaming chairs are upholstered in low quality PU leather, we decided to use top quality perforated Alcantara on the seat and back of the chair. This grade of Alcantara is traditionally used for the interior of exotic cars (Lambos, Porsches, etc). It feels and looks like suede, but with better wear characteristics and the perforations add breathability in areas that traditionally get the hottest (seat and back). In addition we’ve worked with AKRacing to source a high quality PU leather for the accents and trim that has a similar feel to protein leather (highest grade PU leather).
The Aero has a solid aluminum base (no cheap alloys) with 3” casters spec’d to match the 350lb weight allowance from the Class 4 gas spring. Add the latest in adjustable arm tech and all of this creates a confidence inspiring product that we’re proud to provide warranty coverage for 5x the duration of competing products. The Aero is covered by a five year manufacturer's warranty for the chair (foam, upholstery, etc) and a ten year manufacturer's warranty for the base (metal parts, arms, etc).
The Aero launches on November 21st at 6am PT. The Aero only ships to the contiguous United States so any international customers will have to work with a third party forwarder.
Thanks for your interest in this product and let me know if there’s more info you’d like to see posted : )