CES is always home to all kinds of wild devices coming from companies with lofty goals and imaginative ideas, like Razer with its Project Esther concept. This is a haptic chair cushion you fasten to your gaming chair and it sends vibrations through at key moments.
Project Esther uses Razer’s new ‘Sensa HD Haptics’ technology and the company says it “blurs the boundaries between the physical and virtual.” That’s just fancy talk for saying the haptics sync with your entertainment for a more immersive experience. Fancy talk or not, it lives up to the Razer standard of an exciting new concept product that we hope with everything we have will be made into a real product you can buy.
Gone are the days when I could dream of owning some of Razer’s other concepts. Like the Project Sophia gaming desk that we haven’t heard a peep about since it was shown off at CES in 2022. There’s also Project Brooklyn. This was a concept gaming chair that Razer showed off in 2021. It had a sci-fi-like deployable 60-inch OLED screen that came up from the back of the chair.
Then there’s my personal favorite. Project Ariana. This was essentially a projector that linked up to your PC and extended the boundaries of what was on your screen to the wall behind it. It was announced way back in 2017 and it was awesome. And it’s probably never coming to market. Luckily, Project Esther seems like something that has a lot more potential to reach production. Razer however has not announced any sort of pricing or availability. Or if it’s even going to launch for consumers. Still, we got the chance to try it out at CES. And we can confidently say it’s a product we need to own.
The Razer Project Esther concept brings your games to life
First off, there’s a lot that mass production of this product is riding on. Cost is the main factor. Not just the cost for the consumer, but what it would cost Razer to make and turn a profit if it ever did sell it. The silver lining there is that Razer already dabbles in haptics with its HyperSense tech. The Sensa HD haptics it’s using in the Project Esther cushion feels more enjoyable though. HyperSense didn’t quite hit the mark with converting your game audio into a vibration you can feel.
Esther seems like it’s more equipped to handle that sort of situation. That being said, Razer is hoping to turn things up with it by working directly with game developers to bake the haptics into games. To that end, Razer is going to have a complete developers kit for game creators. This will allow creators to add in directional vibrations that match up with key moments like we described above. The cushion has 16 different actuators that are intended to deliver a true sense of direction. But it all kind of hinges on developers using the dev kit to work into games.
The nice thing is that if Razer can get developers on board, the cushion works with most gaming and office chairs. It’s not specific to Razer’s chair offerings and that versatility means more customers would be able to use it.
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