Razer’s gotten a little more realistic with its concepts recently. It used to be it would show off things like a three-screen laptop that defied logic. Now it’s showing off concepts that feel like natural progressions of what the company has on the market. Take haptic feedback. Razer already has a headset that vibrates along with the games you play—rumbling when there’s a loud noise.
That product, the Razer Nari Ultimate, went on sale late last year in the U.S. for $US200 (it's coming to Australia soon for $349.95). But what if it wasn’t the only thing trembling? The Razer Hypersense concept adds rumble to a chair, mouse, and even a keyboard arm-wrest.
I had the opportunity to test it out earlier this week. Playing Overwatch as Pharah, a character with a jetpack on her back and a rocket launcher her arm, really showcased the concept, which uses the audio provided by a game to figure out what should rumble and where. So when I leapt into the air, firing my jetpack, the seat rumbled, and when I fired off a rocket, I felt it in the mouse. Even walking generated a gentle tap against my left wrist, which rested on the pad below the keyboard.
Add in the Nari Ultimate on my ears to blast my ears with audio and additional rumble, and the overall experience felt pretty damn immersive—sort of like I was at a very, very fancy arcade. You know the ones that would move the whole cabinet around as you shot bad guys from your space ship?
As over the top gaming experiences designed for your home, I would rate the Razer Hypersense concept not far below VR, and just above flight and driving simulators. The concept uses a variety of haptic feedback technologies, including ones from Lofelt and SUBPAC, that give it the kind of detailed rumble you might find on a Nintendo Switch (versus the broader rumble felt in the Xbox or Playstation controllers). Razer thinks it could be finer tuned in the future. So not only would you feel a rumble in the chair when someone behind you was shooting you, but you’d actually be able to tell from which direction.
But for now, Razer insists it’s all a concept—just one that might be closer to reality than Razer concepts from previous years.