The Swedish furniture company, Ikea, will be producing a new line of furniture catering to esports fans, in partnership with 3D design company Unyq and education company Area Academy.
One of the heads of this new collaboration is Tommy “Potti” Ingemarsson, CEO of Area Academy, a retired pro Counter-Strike player and co-founder of renown esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP).
“I spent several years sitting on a kitchen chair when I started playing and it was not very good,” said Ingemarsson in the partnership’s announcement.
After a storied career as a player for NiP, in which the team was lauded as the best in the world at the time, Ingermarsson went on to become the CEO of Area Academy. The company organises esports camps for in collaboration with Swedish schools that wish to use esports as a tool to educate children.
“When designing for esports players, one must remember that a gamer is not just a youth. Many people who play are actually in their 30s. The idea of this and the cooperation with Unyq is that you can scan your body and customize the furniture for each individual, users can also adjust colour and appearance,” added Ingermarsson.
While not as physically demanding or grueling as traditional sports at first glance, esports can still be physically taxing and pose risks of serious injury for players. Among the common injuries incurred by esports athletes include arm, wrist, neck, and back injuries.
“The furniture is a big part of everyday life for an esports player and using the wrong furniture can damage both your back and your posture,” said Ingermarsson.
Area Academy has used its connections in the esports industry to assemble a panel of esports athletes and gamers to advise Ikea on the designs of its new product line. Meanwhile, Unyq will enable customers to scan their bodies and create furniture suited to their needs and preferences.
“We are curious about how furniture combined with technology can improve gaming and life around it,” said Marcus Engman, Design Manager at Ikea.
The Swedish company will be wading into contested waters however, as the gaming furniture market is crowded with other companies like Vertagear, Secretlab, and DXRacer already having partnerships with some of the biggest organizations and events in the esports industry.
With that said, Ikea’s influence in Sweden and other countries cannot be understated. Especially when considering the fact that Sweden remains as one of the hubs of esports in the world, with successful teams and players in titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Super Smash Bros.
Ikea noted that; “There are about 2 billion gamers around the world and that group needs functional ergonomic, tailored furniture for their everyday lives. The purpose of the new furniture collection is to explore how personalisation and home decoration can change the lives of all gamers out there.”
The Swedish company is just one of the increasing number of companies entering into partnerships in esports as the industry enjoys continuing success. It joins a list that includes the likes of telecom giant AT&T, insurance company State Farm, and sports broadcast company ESPN.
“We think we’ve found the right players to collaborate with to succeed,” added Engman.