If you’re going to mow down a horde of incorporeal wraiths in one sweep, why not do it in style? Swedish furniture company IKEA is now offering a line of high-performing gaming products meant for both easy ergonomics and chic minimalism. A press release was circulated on Thursday detailing the corporate backflips that went into such an ingenious concept and the sort of furnishings that would qualify as practical and swanky, without necessarily being expensive or unwieldy. The collection will release worldwide next month.
IKEA enlisted the assistance of Asus subsidiary Republic of Gamers (ASUS ROG) in designing the ideal gaming fixtures and accessories that could best magnify the user experience for many players, both professional and casual, struggling with inadequate back support, sore wrists, and strained eyesight. Republic of Gamers is one of the most formidable forces in video game movables, appropriately lending its expertise to a furniture giant that has manufactured and sold hundreds of items of every kind — from the quirky to the functional — except gaming. The result is six IKEA-specific product families: UPPSPEL, LÅNESPELARE, MATCHSPEL, GRUPPSPEL, UTESPELARE, HUVUDSPELARE. UPPSPEL was produced with Republic of Gamers’s careful supervision; the rest are IKEA’s own unique creations, a clever amalgamation of everything in-house engineers picked up from the ASUS ROG.
Ewa Rychert, Global Business Leader of Workspace at IKEA of Sweden, writes: “Now we take the first step on our gaming journey, and we do it by presenting affordable, high-performing gaming products and complete solutions that we hope reflect people’s personality and taste.”
The opening set arriving this October is made solely for the PC. IKEA is taking the business of video game paraphernalia one bold step at a time, and has opted to debut with the industry’s most demanding market: PC players. Console and handheld gamers will presumably come next, with the former taking precedence due to its mechanistic similarities to PC gaming: sitting in front of a widescreen TV screen for hours straight. The setup is essentially identical, hence whatever works for PC gamers should apply to console players as well. So far, IKEA has mobilized its workforce to develop ergonomic designs for new gaming chairs, two-in-one desks, drawer units, mug holders, neck pillows, mouse bungees, and ring lights.
For the uninitiated, gaming chairs are specialized seats with high backrest for upper body (shoulder and back) support, adjustable height, padding, and swivel capability. It also features armrests and lumbar and head support, each section adaptively designed for both comfort and efficiency. They resemble office chairs, but are made for longer work hours — for instance, dedicated gamers used to playing for close to a day, or streamers with regular sessions. IKEA would probably incorporate additional options, to set it apart from other brands.
Gaming desks, on the other hand, usually serve two functions: as a playtime perk and a miscellaneous necessity. Most are used for work, communication, video editing, movie watching, and various other activities, and should rightfully be operative whichever way. They’re usually L-shaped for ease of use (mouse on the side and keyboard up front) and wide enough to carry multiple widescreen monitors, and perhaps the occasional microphone. There’s ample leg space and a hook for hanging headsets. IKEA’s take may include educational adjustments for gamers still in school.
Drawers house controllers, cords, physical copies of games, and other loose items. Mug holders are indispensable assists when YouTubing constantly and streaming indiscriminately long hours. Neck pillows are U-shaped contour pillows for orthopedic use, in case the gaming chair lacks better headrest. They prevent excessive neck strain and herniated discs resulting from bad posture. For those still using a wired computer mouse, mouse bungees help keep the cord from tangling all over the place, allowing for greater fluidity of movement during gameplay. And finally, ring lights are attached to the front of a monitor and are made to illuminate a streamer’s face when recording facecam in dimly-lit rooms or during evenings. Leave it to IKEA to have a little something for every little gaming emergency.
Aside from being useful and looking pretty, each gaming hardware and accompanying gear is made to accomplish three fundamental goals: satisfy varying target groups, adapt to every player’s distinctive personality, and seamlessly blend into the home. IKEA seeks to democratize this field for every user and contribute to a growing industry that aims to make gaming and streaming more of an everyday event than something vastly more niche. Making gaming, and all its quirks, more accessible to both normies and serious players would only improve life in the long run. The central objective at the end of the day is to augment gaming performance by fostering immersive experiences and significantly reducing strain and burnout.
“We know a lot about gamer needs, pain points, and expectations,” ASUS ROG designer Johnny Chan elaborates, “and we want to design solutions for ultimate, immersive gaming experiences.” IKEA designer Jon Karlsson echoes Chan’s concerns. He adds: “We want our products to offer better ergonomics and functions so that gamers can become even better at what they do without wearing out their bodies — become better athletes, basically.”