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Companies seeking fortunes in the $188 billion global gaming market, an industry of cutting-edge hardware, software and creativity, are betting on a low-tech option: furniture.
Striving to become gamers’ favorite supplier of sofas, chairs and upholstery, it now takes center stage at the Tokyo Game Show, traditionally the domain of Sony, Konami and Sega but increasingly becoming an interior decorator, soundproofing Showcase for designers and living room coordinators.
The more complex and engaging games become, the more the world’s hundreds of millions of gamers will decorate their homes around them. Exhibitors include Nitori, Japan’s largest furniture chain, and small start-ups that make chairs specifically for mobile gamers.
Nitori’s gamer-centric products are now a full-fledged part of its store, including a variety of advice on how to decorate a gamer’s room. Some are designed for those who want to “create a space where they can focus on gaming,” while others push potential buyers toward “cute and easy-to-use” materials such as cushions, bean bags, and more. and fuzzy coverings. At 187,390 yen ($1,266), discerning gamers may opt for the “retro” look, which Nitori describes as “mature coordination” that creates a calmer gaming atmosphere.
Exhibitors in the extensive “lifestyle” section of the gaming show, Asia’s largest gaming show and the first to be held on a large scale since the pandemic, include Japanese real estate developer Livlan, which specializes in selling “gamer mansions”, apartment buildings , these devices are configured according to the needs and tastes of professional gamers.
Not only are the apartments fully soundproofed and equipped with the highest speed internet in Japan, they are also thoughtfully designed. In many cases, the apartments will be rented out to anchors and influencers, with the rooms becoming the backdrop for broadcasts watched by millions of people around the world, said Livlan director Rina Suzuki.
For some gamers, especially those with families, the options of dedicating an entire living room to gaming may be limited. Representatives of the three companies participating in the exhibition said that for them, there is always the option of indoor soundproof boxes. In each case, the producers of custom cubicles started out as packaging and plastics companies seeking to enter the gaming market.
Tsuba Setoyama, customer relations manager at One Zoo, which sold a $2,364 soundproof box for the first time at the show, acknowledged that his company is primarily a foam packaging manufacturer but has decided to get into the soundproofing business.
Behind One Zoo, a plastics company called Risu showed off its own game boxes, ranging from black cubes that almost fit a desk to roomier options that resemble office cubicles, which it launched 10 days before the show. series of products.
Runa Kitamura, the founder of crowdfunded Ais, is showing off her $280 colorful ergonomic chair with high armrests and curved backrest, designed to prevent chronic pain among her mostly mobile-addicted female customers.
“The reality people live in now is that everyone plays games or looks at their mobile phones. Furniture should be designed around this reality, and people should consider this when buying,” Kitamura said.