Take a Seat

Gaming chairs represent one niche of the interactive-gaming peripherals and accessories segment that has seen strong interest from the licensing community. Billed as enhancing performance as well as comfort during game play, game chairs were first associated with esports-, gaming-, and gaming influencer-related IP, which still comprise the core of the market. But licensing activity has since expanded into new property types, including sports leagues and clubs, characters, car brands, and more, while the customer base has extended beyond hardcore gamers to casual fans, including children.

A number of new initiatives have come to light during the pandemic—including new licensing agreements and new product introductions—which makes sense, as both the home furnishings and the interactive gaming sectors have been bright spots during this time period. Some examples:

  • SecretLab added a number of licenses to its portfolio this year, including Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and Facepunch Studios’ online survival game Rust (both announced and introduced in October), Chess.com and a Three Lions edition tied to England’s national football club (both in September), the esports team Evil Geniuses (August), and CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 (June). The chair maker also holds rights to a variety of other properties, from Overwatch and League of Legends (including the in-world virtual K-Pop group K/DA) to Warner Bros.’ Batman franchise and electronic music DJ Deadmau5.
  • Noblechairs forged an agreement with Bethesda, announced in April, to design a line of seats tied to gaming IP including Fallout, Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Rage, and Wolfenstein. The Fallout chair was the first to be released, followed by Doom. In 2019 Noblechairs signed a high-profile deal with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas esports team, which competes in Formula One racing games; that was followed by a license with Formula One itself, announced this month.
  • DreamSeat’s Zipchair Gaming brand became the producer of the official gaming chair for Equinox Esports, in a deal made public in November. Zipchair Gaming also holds licenses for all five major leagues, several English Premiere League football clubs, colleges and conferences, the Overwatch League, and esports clubs including Misfits Gaming, the Florida Mutineers, Helix Esports, and Nerd Street Gamers.
  • AndaSeat launched its Marvel Avengers series this month, including editions for Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Ant Man. In September, it debuted its Fnatic Edition, tied to one of the best-known esports clubs. The Chinese company also produces official gaming chairs for esports teams ahq eSports Club, LDG Gaming, VTG, and OMG.
  • X Rocker launched a line of Super Mario gaming chairs for children in July, under license from Nintendo of Europe, for the U.K. and European markets. Chairs in the line feature the characters Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser. Customized collections are being offered exclusively through retail chains including Argos and Smyths Toys, in addition to the products that are widely distributed. The company is also the official chair sponsor for the Minnesota Røkkr Call of Duty team, which entered competitive play in January 2020.
  • Nacon, a French accessories marketer and videogame distributor formerly known as Bigben Interactive, announced an agreement in July with Microsoft to develop gaming chairs for the Xbox Series X. The chairs are one component of a range of branded peripherals, from controllers to headsets.

A wide and growing range of retailers, from Wayfair and Ikea to Staples and Kmart Australia, carry this category, with suppliers including accessories and peripherals specialists, office furniture brands, performance car seating manufacturers, and stadium seating providers. Most of the licensed chairs are editions of models already available; in other words, they feature colors and imagery tied to the property in question, but rarely offer other IP-specific features.

Thursday’s edition of RaugustReports will be the last for 2020; we will take a short break next week and be back on Monday, January 4, 2021. We wish all of our readers a happy new year.

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