The X Rocker Gaming Chair is a development by Ace Bayou, a furniture design company in Tennessee, USA (the featured image above is not one of their chairs!) Their chairs basically take over where Grandma’s rocking chair left off – Enjoying life while doing nothing except for rocking in your chair and immersing in your inner world. Now Ace Bayou has taken that front porch concept of staring at the stars and thinking about nothing to our modern way of relaxing… PC Games or any other modern media like Xbox, iPod, or DVD.
While Grandma’s chair patiently and passively let her dream about the vastness of the universe, an X Rocker will rock your world literally and let you immerse in the world of your video game. Each of Ace Bayou’s Gaming Chairs comes equipped with speakers and an in-built subwoofer, and this sub-woofer is integrated into the chair’s frame in a way that you actually feel the game. An impressive experience.
Have you ever tried an Xbox controller, really felt your gun firing or your chopper crash? Have you realized that the controller vibrates, or has your brain been tricked by your eyes to expect a vibrating gun, so much that you did not even realize that the controller successfully added to your game immersion by giving the nerves in your hand (and therefore your brain) the feedback it needed to believe that you are IN the game, firing your gun? Since the vibrating controller is congruent with the action on the screen and the sound from the speakers (firing sound), don’t be surprised if you did not even realize that the controller was rocking.
This technology is called tactile or haptic feedback. You not only hear or see what is happening in the game, you can also feel it. Seeing through your eyeballs is a consciously controlled process, especially during a video game, and information received through your tactile senses is taken for granted by the brain. This means that while you may consciously decide that the enemy you can see shooting at you is not real and by that lower the impact on your brainwaves, the sensation of impact by the bullets on your skin improves the simulation’s realness.
A few years ago game designers could only try to create immersive gameplay by optimal sound and great graphics, but since the beginning ego-shooter enthusiasts loved a deep bass sound, because bass is such a low vibration that you can feel it in your stomach area, and by that added another body sense to the game experience – Listening, seeing, and now feeling. The Xbox was the first technology to actively employ this sense in gameplay, making the games seem even more realistic.
It can be a surprise how convincing some game-congruent rocking movements in your hands feel, though most people underestimate their hands as sensing instruments. Hands are very “touchy” and well-equipped to decipher even text, as many nerves run through your hand and fingers.
An X Rocker Chair takes this technology one step further and combines the vibrational qualities of deep bass with a chair, using the chair as a sounding box. An X Rocker vibrates to the bass sound you hear, giving your brain more intensive gaming feedback – You immerse even deeper into the gameplay.
The chair is available in basically two versions, as a real rocking chair with you sitting a few inches above the floor or fixed on a pedestal, letting you sit much more comfortably if you prefer to put your feet on the ground. While the first version lets you sit on the floor and rock, the second version more resembles a comfortable office chair.
Every gaming chair comes with an in-built subwoofer and speakers next to the headrest, so that you can hear the game sound loud and clear. The subwoofer makes your chair “rock” and gives your upper and lower back’s nerves vibrational feedback, so that you feel like the chair moved you through the screen into the game.
The X Rocker Chairs can easily be connected to your PC’s audio connectors, either by cabling or – with some chairs – even wirelessly, so that you do not have the cables lying around in your space. If you do not use the X Rocker for playing on your PC (or Xbox, PS3), you can easily connect it to your DVD or iPod and enjoy life in that chair just as Grandma did in her days.
X Rocker Gaming Chair In Summary
Pros: An X Rocker Gaming Chair does not cost the world, gets good reviews, and is a great tool to take your gaming experience to the next (sensual) level. Most reviewers are very happy with their X Rocker Gaming Chair and are return customers after some years. That says a lot about the chair’s qualities.
Cons: Some reviewers criticize that the subwoofer has no optimal sound quality with some static. An adjustable headrest would help taller people with tiring neck muscles to still be able to keep their eyes on the screen. The chairs might be too tiny for big people and some report that the cushioning, though good, can after some time get compressed if you are no lightweight.
Also, employing bass frequency for creating a sensual experience is a good idea but only a step in-between towards a real tactile gaming chair, where for example you get the impression of G-forces in car racing or combat flight simulations. To be fair, the manufacturer never designed the X Rocker Gaming Chairs to be used in simulators; They are designed and priced to make your gaming experience at home more enjoyable, and that they do!
Also, the chair can only play back 2.1 stereo sound, which is not optimal for first-person-shooter games. For these an X Rocker Gaming Chair is a nice way to sit during gameplay, but you will still need a 5.1 or 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound System.
Summary: The X Rocker Gaming Chair is a great way to enhance your gameplay at home and step up the game immersion, which works well especially considering the pricing. If you are very tall or looking to create a simulator at home though an X Rocker Gaming Chair might not be for you, but you’ll miss out.