Vertagear's RGB gaming chairs are much cooler and more functional than you'd expect

RGB lighting is coming to gaming chairs.

No, stop, don't roll your eyes and walk away. It's coming, and Vertagear is going to make sure it's actually really cool. Maybe even useful, too!

At CES 2018 I had a chance to get a sneak preview of the RGB features Vertagear will be bringing to multiple SL and PL chair models throughout its extensive lineup later this year, and while I went in skeptical, I came away impressed. Vertagear's execution of the RGB lighting in these chairs, at least in these early demo models, looked excellent. The whole package feels as polished as a second or third generation product, rather than one of the first chairs to ever implement lighting in this way.

Over-the-Shoulder lighting and underglow

Vertagear has two main locations in mind for RGB accents on their gaming chairs: the vents above the sitter's shoulders and an underlighting package beneath the chair legs (which may be available as an optional add-on to existing chairs). Different models of RGB chairs will be distinguished in part by the number of individual LEDs inside the shoulder lighting accents. Other models will still feature full RGB color, but may have fewer individual lights inside.

Tech specs and details on these chairs are still pending, but Vertagear was quoting an expected 11 to 12 hours of battery life time for the shoulder lights, running off of rechargeable lithium ion batteries, and a potential 28 hours of light for the underglow projector.

The shoulder lights solve one of the biggest puzzles of early RGB light integration into gaming chairs: how to make it so someone sitting in the chair can actually appreciate the lighting effects? Lighting on the back of a chair is nice for someone watching like some sort of lurking creep behind the sitter in a dark room, but with these Vertagear chairs you'll be able to see the colors and effects while you're actually using the chair.

It's also worth noting that video game streamers are a huge factor in the advertising and selling of gaming chairs. By putting the shoulder lights exactly where they did, Vertagear has placed them in the perfect spot to be displayed on a typical game stream setup, captured via a webcam. That's a smart move, and even if you are skeptical of chairs like these, the younger gamers out there who live and breathe streaming culture will be asking for chairs with colorful flashing lights like these come the 2018 holiday season.

As for the underglow, well, gosh that is going to produce a very cool effect in a dark room. Slowly but surely, RGB lighting is creeping out from your keyboard and mouse to take over the entire PC gaming experience.

Wireless control and NZXT CAM integration

The lighting colors and patterns for these chairs will be wirelessly controlled, via a USB dongle plug-in on your PC. You'll be able to change the lighting on the fly via NZXT's CAM software, using the same controls as NZXT's popular HUE lighting packages. In the demo at CES the lighting change was immediate and easy, and was even capable of syncing with the other CAM-controlled lighting in the PC itself. If you've ever dreamed of having your chair flash along with your RGB case lighting, Vertagear and NZXT are ready to make it happen.

Among the different RGB chair models on display was the model (seen in the photo and video up above) officially co-branded with NZXT. This will be a higher-end model with more individual LEDs (which enhance the pattern and animation options available through CAM), and will likely sell for a higher cost as a result.

CS:GO features

Game integration is always a goal with RGB lighting, but in practice it is rarely a possibility to do it with more than a very limited number of games. There aren't many games that easily share the information peripherals need to respond on the fly, and individual products usually work  with just a single game or two, depending on what corporate deals have been struck behind the scenes.

For now, Vertagear's RGB chairs will work with CS: GO, featuring light and color changes that respond to the in-game action. The shoulder lights will shade from green to yellow to red depending on player health. They'll shift in color in response to smoke and flash grenades. They'll even flash on a timer to tick down the final seconds until the C4 explodes to end a match. None of these features are likely to be that useful for players sitting in the chairs, as they'll be paying more attention to what's happening on the screen rather than the colors surrounding them, but it could provide for a cool effect for in-person observers, especially at an e-sports event.

More game integrations would be nice, especially as CS: GO's popularity wanes a bit with the rise of games like PUBG, but we'll have to wait and see if anything develops. And I'll just have to keep hoping for some full-scale Cyberpunk 2077 chair lighting features.

A chair made out of coffee grounds?!

In addition to all the RGB features on display, Vertagear was also showing off a separate, less-flashy enhancement coming to some of their gaming chairs this year. They had cushions and pillows made of a black material that didn't look much different from typical chair fabric, but which was apparently made out of pressed coffee ground fibers. The material didn't feel like any special to the touch, but according to Vertagear it provides a few key advantages over normal gaming chair PVC or leather: namely that it can absorb odors and liquids.

It isn't pleasant to think about, of course, but gaming chairs are exposed to a lot of sweat over their lifespans, so a material that could help keep the surface clean and dry over time is an interesting development in the market. Vertagear is also topping the cushions with silver thread for the logos, which has anti-bacterial properties of its own (which are actually really cool to read about).

When you want to clean the material you can wipe it down with a damp cloth, though there doesn't seem to be a real way to wash the inside of the chair or cushions, so try not to think too much about what they might be carrying inside them after a few months of absorbing things.

Vertagear will release a new black chair covered with the coffee ground material, along with a cushion using the material for their higher-end Triigger line. You can expect the new chairs to come in at a higher price point than those made of more traditional materials.

You can check out a teaser page for the PL4500 RGB chair on Vertagear's website. The company is aiming for Spring of 2018 for the release of these new RGB and coffee material chairs, so keep your eyes on the Vertagear page on Newegg.