Some virtual reality software is made to be experienced while standing up, but there’s a large collection of games, experiences, and productivity tools that are best experienced while in a seated position. The trouble is, even the finest spinning office or gaming chairs aren’t made for VR, and so you’re left to rather clumsily rotate your chair with your feet in an effort to look at all the virtual content surrounding you in 360 degrees. The Roto VR chair aims to solve this problem, and to make seated VR more immersive, comfortable, and exciting at the same time.
Disclaimer: This article was produced in cooperation with Roto VR.
Roto VR Features
The Roto VR chair is a technical upgrade for your VR experience, providing automatic rotation, built-in rumble, broad headset compatibility, and all-important cable management.
So what makes the Roto VR chair special? Well, one big part is the fact that it actually rotates automatically depending on which direction you’re looking. Thanks to a sensor you can attach to your VR headset, the chairs motors will turn you left, right, and all the way around, while your feet sit comfortably on the included footrest. The motion is designed to feel natural, mimicking the way in which the direction your head is pointed leads the rest of your body.
Headset connectivity and compatibility
On the cable management front, the Roto VR offers a significant upgrade over a standard spinning chair. For the Oculus Rift CV1 and the original HTC Vive, two of the most common VR headsets already in consumer hands, you’ll be able to run the cables through the included magazine, and plug them directly into the chair – so there will be no tangling to worry about. Once you’ve connected these headsets to the chair, a cable runs safely along the floor to be plugged in to your PC, and you’re good to go.
If you want to use the Rift-S, Vive Pro, or Valve Index, you can still do it – but with the launch version of the Roto VR you’ll need a battery-powered VR capable laptop sitting on the desk that can be attached to the chair as one of the convenient and versatile accessories, so you can wrap up the cords safely and avoid tangles. As of publication these headsets can’t connect directly to the chair base, but the cable magazines are designed to be interchangeable, so hopefully in the future we’ll see upgrades that support the newest wired headsets.
The only major popular VR headset that isn’t compatible with the Roto VR is the PSVR, because it needs to be connected to your PlayStation. You can find out more information about compatibility on Roto’s official website.
Rumble and attachments
The Roto VR Chair also includes rumble feedback built into the chair itself, which works with your computer’s audio. This feature can help make games more immersive, allowing you to really feel the deep bass offered by rumbling engines or roaring monsters. And the rumble effect is fully adjustable, so you can get just the intensity you want.
The chair is designed to be modular, with accessories including mini-tables to work with joysticks, a desktop for use with laptops – perfect for VR productivity – and even dedicated integration with certain racing wheels. Make sure to check out the accessories detailed on the Roto VR chair Newegg product page for more about what you’ll get with the full package.
Most VR games have some kind of seated mode option, because even the most physically fit among us likes the chance to sit down when we’re playing for more than twenty minutes. The most active and movement-focused titles, like Raw Data or Superhot, aren’t good fits for the chair, but it excels with slower-paced experiences and adventure titles. Moss and Star Trek: Bridge Crew are good examples of games that work well with what Roto VR offers.
Any game with controller-based movement, whether it’s teleportation or some kind of locomotion, will probably work with the Roto VR chair, but how well it works is highly dependent on the speed at which you need to move and turn. For safety reasons the Roto VR doesn’t spin you too quickly, and it naturally trails your head a little bit.
Many VR shooting games are already made with this kind of gradual movement in mind, just to cut down on the nausea factor, and on-rails or shooting gallery experiences should of course function perfectly. The rare VR shooters that place you in full 3D environments and demand rapid rotation to deal with enemies, like Arizona Sunshine, won’t work quite as well.
If you’re a fan of racing or flight simulator games, then Roto VR has you covered there too. The chair has a dedicated “cockpit mode” you’ll want to use, since in most cases you don’t actually want to rotate around in those kinds of games. Instead, you can take advantage of the chair’s vibration features and built-in compatibility with certain racing wheels and HOTAS accessories. Once again, check out the Roto VR site for more info on compatible accessories.
Though VR gaming gets a lot of the attention, the world of VR “experiences” is even larger, and the Roto VR chair is a great fit for a lot of what’s out there. 360-degree videos and movies work great with the smooth rotation of the chair, and with standalone headsets like the Gear VR or Oculus Go all you need to do is attach the synced head-tracking dongle to the headset strap and you’re good to go. It’s easy to imagine having the chair set up at a trade show or even in a mall where you sit someone down and hand them the headset, letting them turn naturally and look around in an experience almost like a motion simulator ride.
VR tourism is another natural fit for the Roto VR chair, whether it’s something broad like Google Earth or a specifically mapped and digitized indoor or outdoor area. Many of those who would use VR in this way are older, on average, and more likely to need a comfortable seated experience to really immerse themselves in virtual environments. Businesses in the VR tourism, real estate, or similar industries might consider investing in Roto VR chairs to make their overall experiences feel better and more “futuristic” to their customers.
Roto VR also has potential for those who regularly work “inside” VR, such as VR developers or any of the growing number of businesses doing training, meetings, or design inside virtual space. Sitting is safer and more comfortable than standing for lengthy experiences like these, and using a chair that automatically turns where you are looking just feels more polished than spinning manually with your feet.
A new way to experience VR
If you’re a fan of seated VR experiences or games and are consider ways to improve your immersion and comfort, the Roto VR chair is worth a look. For more information, check out the Newegg product page and the official Roto VR website.