Getting items through our links may earn us a part of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Welcome to Counterpoint, a series in which we challenge frequently held concepts about widely known products. This time: ‘gaming’ chairs.

The quickest way to inform if a person is a gamer isn’t their rig or the existence of LED light strips in their space; it is, and has been for more than a decade, the chair. With all due respect, that is just dumb.

You know the ones– the fire engine red accents, the embroidered logo designs, the polyurethane leather, the inmost of reclines. Holdovers from a time when gaming was only for the young, these features are not the primary target of my ire. Not when almost every gaming chair is still, in the year 2020, imitating those found in race cars and trucks– total with bucket seats, winged back-rests and raised seat edges.

Bested only by working and sleeping, there isn’t a more fixed activity than video gaming. Whether you’re getting in a fast game of Warzone before bed or it’s 3 a.m. and you’re still playing the same video game of Civilization VI, your body needs support. The large bulk of racer-style chairs do not offer assistance, or a minimum of not support of the ideal kind.

The winged back and pail seat were introduced to keep drivers securely planted during high-speed turns. Playing Dota 2 shouldn’t dislodge you from your seat. The elevated front lip of a racing seat serves to raise a driver’s legs so they can more easily reach pedals. This serves no purpose in a CS: GO match. These more obvious issues are foundational, however the universality of the visual presents other problems. Take the synthetic leather used to upholster the chairs; this product does not breathe well, which makes the worn out cliché of the sweaty gamer a reality.

The service is as boring as it is apparent: the very same desk chairs that benefit working are excellent for video gaming. These ergonomics-focused chairs focus on support, flow and body health over looks. Instead of winged backs, the shapes mimic the body and enable freer motion. In place of sweaty pleather, good desk chairs utilize airy mesh and more breathable foam. Rather of seats that lift your upper hands and trigger blood circulation breaks, most use “waterfall” edge seats that cut down on the pressure that develops in your thighs. Hours of stationary gaming demands an ergonomics focus, not an aesthetic appeal one.

The video gaming community hasn’t constantly been lined up with safety seat– previous to the colorful seats these days, people played games in anything from plastic lawn chairs to Marcel Breuer’s famous Cesca chairs, as chronicled by the website ChairsFX. By most accounts, the racer-style video gaming chair movement was born in 2006, when a racing seat company called DXRacer shifted its focus to video gaming chairs and, after a series of major sponsorships with eSports occasions, emerged in appeal.

There are indications the tyranny of the videogame race cars and truck chair’s is coming to an end. The task chair masters at Herman Miller just recently announced a partnership with the video gaming wing at Logitech that assures to “create the world’s most innovative gaming chair.” For all the destruction it’s wrought, the coronavirus has forced millions to review the chairs they invest the most time in.

Think about buying a chair not because your preferred banner on Twitch was paid to sit in it, but for the love of your joints.