Gaming chairs are becoming increasingly popular these days, both for casual and professional gamers. There are several different types of gaming chairs to choose from, with each style having its own benefits and drawbacks.
Why are there holes in gaming chairs? Gaming chairs have holes to allow for slightly improved ergonomics, as well as airflow during extended play sessions. The inclusion of these holes also allows for the placement of straps, which can hold pillows in place for added comfort.
Though this simple response may answer your question, we continued on with our research and wanted to determine why gaming chairs are designed the way they are in the first place.
Why Holes Exist in Gaming Chairs
It may come as a shock to you, but many gaming chairs (and nearly all of them) are designed around a racing seat that you may see inside of many modified stock cars. These seats, or chairs, in this case, are designed to be comfortable, even when sitting in the same position for hours on end.
Racing seats are also designed to keep a driver properly secured into his seat at all times, even during intense turns or extremely fast speeds. So, in essence, holes have been cut into most racing seats (and gaming chairs) to allow the installation of either a five or seven-point harness.
The harnesses are typically bolted to the frame of the car and route through the seat in five to seven places, firmly securing the driver into the seat. A harness is an absolute necessity for any professional driver; without it, a driver opens himself up to the possibility of extremely serious or fatal injuries.
A harness allows the driver to be secured from lifting out of the seat but also prevents shifting from side to side. These harnesses are crucial to the driver’s safety. These holes were eventually carried over to the design of most gaming chairs, though they don’t serve the same purpose as they do in a racing seat.
As the design was almost exactly copied from a racing seat, designers had to determine what they could do with the unused space where a harness used to be located. However, users began to notice that these holes actually allowed additional airflow in the shoulder and neck area, which is quite important for some gamers.
This allows for gamers to play games for hours without worrying about getting horribly sweaty – as any gamer knows that the shoulders, armpits, and neck are typically the first areas to be affected by sweat due to the strain that is placed on these body parts.
In turn, though, designers and users alike were baffled to find that these holes also provided:
- Improved back and neck support: the placement of these holes allowed for users to remain comfortable for longer periods of time by providing proper support in all the right places
- Allow the chair to be more structurally sound: interestingly enough, these holes actually allow the chair to be more structurally sound.
- Prevented flexing: due to the inserts that commonly surround these holes, extra rigidity is often provided to the backplate, preventing any unwanted flexing of the materials that hold the backplate together.
However, in recent years, many companies and customers have found additional uses for these holes. Many chairs that you may buy today will come with a strap that feeds through both the upper and lower harness holes. While this may not be the hole’s intended purpose, it certainly provides functional alternative use.
These straps will commonly contain velcro that you can adhere to a small pillow for extra support. These pillows can be placed near either your upper or lower back to allow for a bit more padding and comfort. Though doing so does technically negate the benefit of the added airflow – but to each their own.
Comfort and Ergonomics of Gaming Chairs
The comfort and ergonomics of these chairs vary greatly between styles and brands, though they all serve the same purpose – to keep the user comfortable for as long as possible. It’s easy to become lost in a game for hours on end, and without proper support, joint pain could become a very serious issue.
Choosing the right gaming chair for your body type is extremely important, as a simple fact about your body, such as your height or weight, can dramatically affect which type of chair you may find most comfortable. It’s important to test fit any chair you are looking to purchase – or at the least, find a chair that has a decent return policy, just in case it doesn’t fit you well.
Nearly all chairs are coated in a type of foam that helps to keep strain and weight off of your joints, but if the foam and curves of the chair don’t fit you properly, you could be in for a world of hurt – literally.
Gamings chairs are certainly not cheap, though. Most quality chairs can cost several hundred dollars, and some even venture into the thousands. This is due to the sheer amount of science and engineering that is involved in creating chairs that will be comfortable for a large number of customers for many years. These chairs are designed to endure:
- Long term use: these chairs are designed to be used daily, hours at a time, without breaking down or losing comfort
- Repeated abuse: they were also designed to withstand numerous types of spills, heavy users, repeated falls, and even moisture
- Years of support: the materials used to craft a gaming chair were chosen to allow the user to experience years of uninterrupted spine and neck support
The Brass Tax of Gaming Chairs
Many casual gamers don’t necessarily see the need for a proper gaming chair, especially if they only plan to game for a couple of hours or so each day. Though, it’s important to recall that these chairs were designed to support your proper posture and to be as ergonomic as possible. Without these features, sitting for such long periods of time could pose serious health risks.
A common rebuttal against gaming chairs is that a proper office chair should suit most users just fine. Though, office chairs are rarely designed with posture in mind. Many office chairs are overly padded and don’t allow for proper positioning of your spine. Because of this, you can actually negatively affect your spinal health and possibly begin to walk with a “hunched” posture.
This is particularly dangerous in today’s smartphone-oriented world. Not only are we all commonly looking down toward our phones, but now, with the increasing popularity of gaming, we are also sitting for extended periods in a hunched position, which is utterly destroying our posture.
Gaming chairs and racing chairs alike have been designed after years, even decades, of medical research. These chairs are a must for any professional gamer, but many casual gamers can find benefit in them as well. It’s important to find a properly fitted chair, though, as sitting in a chair that doesn’t fit you well can actually worsen the possibility of developing bad posture.
Keep in mind that, with the inclusion of holes on a gaming chair, many chairs can be adjusted in a way that nearly any user can find comfortable. These holes can not only be used for additional airflow but may also be sued to secure a pillow if you need a bit of extra support. There is a gaming chair out there for everyone; it’s just a matter of finding the proper chair for you.