What racing games need is a full-sized, ergonomic video gaming chair that requires no configuration with your favorite game.
This is needed is because the video game racing wheels on the market don’t quite cut it. I’ve tried both leading racing wheels and both are disappointing in a some significant way. I tried them on Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, Need For Speed: Underground 2, and Burnout 3: Takedown.
With the Logitech wheel, you are supposed to be able to use it on your lap, but there is nothing to keep it from sliding off your legs when taking a hard turn. Also, the Logitech video game racing wheel does not have a shift stick, which pretty much sucks if you like to drive manually.
Comparitively, the Mad Catz video game racing wheel has a shift stick but for the life of me, I could not get it to properly down-shift with any of my games. The Mad Catz racing wheel does have little wings that you can pull out that fit around your thighs and keep the wheel from sliding off your lap during hard turns, which gives it an edge over Logitech. The Mad Catz foot pedals have a more realistic feel than Logitech’s foot pedals.
Both wheels have nothing to prevent their foot pedals from sliding when used on carpet, forcing the user to use some heavy object to keep them in place. Logitech has the only wheel that uses force feedback technology, but only on their PS2 version. Both Logitech’s and Mad Catz’s wheels require significant tinkering with both the wheel and your game’s controller configuration in order to work optimally.
Gamers need a realistic wheel for their racing games, so this is what I propose: Take an ordinary office chair and turn it into a racing wheel/gaming chair.
It would have all the functions of an office chair–pneumatic lift to adjust to leg length, ability to lock/unlock the lean-back function, ability to swivel the chair, and arm rests that can be set in the up or down position.
Take this chair and add an arm that could be lowered down in front of you–with a tilt function–that has a steering wheel attached to it and includes controller functions. On your right-side would an arm attached to the bottom of your seat with a stick shift that you could raise up or tuck out of the way if you wanted to drive with automatic transmission.
Attached to the bottom base of the chair would be a platform upon which the pedals–gas, clutch, and break–would be attached.
Obviously, the entire thing would have to be wireless in order to avoid annoying entanglements.
Ideally, the thing would be plug and play with your favorite game, so you wouldn’t have to waste time configuring your games.
With current wheels priced in the $60-$150 range, I think you could go as high as $200-$250 for this gaming chair and they’d sell briskly. At the $250 range, you could offer a universal controller chair that had a normal controller for non-racing play and a joystick for flying games.
The benefits such a universal video gaming chair/controller would offer are obvious when you consider how it would work for a game like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where you often go from on-foot gameplay, to driving a car or boat, to flying a plane or helicopter. As of now, you must use an ordinary controller for the game, and so you need to use only the tools that a standard controller offer you: buttons and triggers.
But if you could use a universal video gaming chair/controller with the game, you could seamlessly use the control devise most appropriate for your current gameplay: If you’re walking, you use the standard controller. If you’re driving a car or boat, you use the steering wheel, shift, and pedals. If you’re flying, you use joystick.
Right now, the standard controller for video games is an awkward user input device that is entirely unrelated to how people perform their corresponding video game actions in the real world. The controller itself is a persistent reminder to the gamer of the artificiality of the video game world, thus obviously reducing the realism of the game itself.
A universal video gaming chair/controller would be a step toward making the controller more natural and thus enhancing the realism of the gaming experience.