By Chris Matel, GamersHell
If the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin is any indication, gaming peripherals and accessories are moving beyond simple, cheap add-ons. Instead, there is a push to make video gaming a more immersive experience beyond that of rich audio fidelity and near-realistic graphics. Rumble capabilities in controllers was a small-yet-explosive step, but nowadays, nearly every aspect of our entertainment environment seems to be nudging in the favor of dedicated gamers who look for new ways to bring their favorite activity “to life.”
The aforementioned Steve Carell flick gets a mention above not because of Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan’s adlibbed “You know how I know you’re gay” banter, but because of the unique chair included in the scene as the two exchanged blows over Mortal Kombat: Deception. What might have been perceived as a Hollywood prop, turned out to be a real product manufactured by Ultimate Game Chair, Inc. While this may be old news to some, the company just announced their next product which is set to be co-branded by Capcom through a formal licensing agreement: the Reactor chair.
Comparatively smaller and with less accompanying features than UGC’s Renegade chair, the Capcom Reactor marks the first deal that any kind of gaming chair manufacturer has been able to land with a major player in the industry—which a laudable achievement for a company of only 10 employees.
Tapping into Capcom’s established market of more than 50 million users is a huge success for the wholly independent Ultimate Game Chair company, but Capcom is just as excited to have the manufacturer on board with Germaine Goia, VP of licensing for Capcom, stating: “For 20 years, Capcom’s blockbuster franchises have been breaking records the world over with a devoted fan base. It is a rare and exceptional occasion when we find a product like the Reactor game chair that can boost game play with full-impact body blows or subtle movements to enhance our triple-A titles.”
Marketed as an all-in-one gaming chair, the Reactor is without a release date as of yet, but is in-production to launch with Capcom’s upcoming major releases (Street Fighter 4 and Resident Evil 5) later this year. Similar to its Renegade cousin, the Reactor touts vibration motors located in the back of the chair, as well as in the seat, which react to low frequency audio signals, reportedly producing varying degrees of pulsation. Also included in the chair will be the company’s standard 3D stereo sound in the headrest.
Available in both Capcom-branded and unbranded models, the Reactor is set to retail for $179.99 and $199.99, respectively—those who opt for a Capcom bundle will enjoy a discount. Either way you get the chair, however, UGC claims that you’ll experience a new level of interactivity with your games, across any format including MP3s and movies.
In an effort to try and tease a little more information out about the Reactor, we got in touch with Jamie Duran, president of Ultimate Game Chair, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the announcement.
Capcom is certainly a publisher/developer known for putting out engaging titles, but what made Ultimate Game Chair choose them?
We approached Capcom because we love Capcom games. Legendary titles like Street Fighter, Moto GP and Resident Evil all play great in our video game chairs. When we met with Capcom, they all loved the way the game chairs enhanced game play; it was just a matter of working out the details. Everyone agrees that every video game player needs a place to sit. If our Ultimate Game Chairs make their games more fun and interactive, while delivering comfort and convenience, there isn't one of Capcom's 50 million worldwide users that wouldn't love the Ultimate Game Chair to play Capcom games.
Is this an exclusive deal/contract, or are you looking to expand in the future?
Expand in the future. We are in talks with most of the major players in the video game and entertainment industries. Capcom is the first deal that we have inked.
The Reactor is said to have eight vibrating motors to produce feedback. We’ve seen something like this before for the PC in a vest form, to liven the FPS genre, but how powerful are the vibrations going be: hard kicks, or a smooth massage?
Correct - the Reactor Game Chair has eight vibration motors featuring Game Sync technology. This means our game chair vibrates in sync with the game action. It is variable, so big game events, like explosions, produce big vibrations, and small game events, like a single shot from a gun, produce small vibrations. This creates a more realistic game experience than anything else, and enhances the game like never before.
Speaking of massage, your announcement mentions such functionality for watching movies or listening to music. Are there going to be preset cycles to choose from, or can you program your own?
The vibration is adjustable by the user, so movies like Rambo 4 come alive in the Ultimate Game Chair. You feel all of the explosions and machine gun fire, and the movie audio is incredible in the headrest 3D stereo speakers. You can also listen to an iPod in the Ultimate Game Chair, recline back and put the game chair in massage mode for relaxing after all night gaming sessions.
The Reactor is being designed with upcoming Capcom titles in mind, but will the Game Sync technology work with non/past Capcom games?
Yes. The Ultimate Game Chair works best with all of the next gen systems, but works great with Xbox Classic, PS2, and GameCube systems. At Captivate, we also talked with the game producers and discussed special releases of the titles specifically designed for the Ultimate Game Chair.
The chair seems to be moving games into that realm of total emersion. Again, the FPS Gaming Vest is an example, but it required downloadable drivers for its feedback. Is your Game Sync technology something that will have to be coded into the software to allow for discrete/specified feedback, or will it work off of the normal rumble coding?
The Ultimate Game Chair works off of the low frequency audio signal which gives us the advantage of complete compatibility, ease of connection and incredible game action. As our product line gains acceptance, we will provide enhancements that will have specific interaction with the newest games.
What exactly is the wireless adapter accessory? Is it something needed to play on the current-gen hardware?
The Wireless Audio Adapter will allow our users to connect the Ultimate Game Chair to the game console. We have the advantage of having our own frequency, and that provides the user with interference free gaming.
It looks like there will be a couple of retail options for the Reactor chair: Capcom-branded and non-branded. Is there any difference between the models?
No, they are the same model of the Ultimate Game Chair.
The Capcom chair is listed at a MSRP of $179.99, while the non-branded chair is $199.99; what does the bundle package include, and why the price discrepancy?
Capcom customers will receive a coupon code to get 10% off the MSRP of the Reactor Game Chair.
What would you say are the biggest differences between the Reactor, and your Renegade chairs?
The Renegade Game Chair has a lot more features than the Reactor Game Chair including: arm rests, four more vibration motors, reclining action, ground effects lighting, cup holder, storage drawer, and a unique racing seat design. Both game chairs will feature our Game Sync technology and 3D headrest mounted speakers. Oh, and the Renegade costs $100 more! :-)