Acer's $14,000 Thronos Air gaming chair will massage away your battle stress
Originally launched last year to much hullabaloo – and shock at the huge price-tag – Acer has dramatically reconfigured the Thronos gaming chair, dropped the price substantially, ditched the whizzy motorized components and added "Air" to the name. Oh, and it now has a massage feature.
Acer's gaming sub-brand Predator (which includes laptops, desktops, monitors and a full suite of accessories) was launched in 2008 to capture a share of the growing PC gaming market, and competes head-to-head with other specialized gaming sub-brands like Lenovo's Legion, Dell's Alienware, HP's Omen and Asus' Republic of Gamers (ROG).
The Predator team is riding high after becoming the first gaming brand to win a Red Dot Brand Award in August of this year (for the Predator XB3 series gaming monitors), and had a number of new gaming products announced at the company's global press conference in Berlin yesterday - which precedes IFA Berlin 2019, Europe's premier tech show, opening to the public tomorrow.
Among the announcements were two new Predator Triton gaming notebooks, the Planet9 next-generation esports platform (see below), four new Acer Nitro XV3 gaming monitors, four new Chromebooks and the twisty C250i portable projector which has an automatic portrait mode for those vertical smartphone videos.
So where does the Predator Thronos Air gaming chair fit into all this? Well, it's not really a piece of high-tech gaming technology itself – although it seems well engineered and looks awesome – instead, it's more of a platform for all your Acer/Predator gaming gadgetry, as well as a clever, aspirational marketing tool for the Predator and Acer brands. Most likely the latter.
Like its predecessor, the Thronos Air is, as Acer describe it, a gamer's cave. Where it differs is that it's now around half the price (starting at around US$14,000) and this is mostly because it no longer has all the motorized tilting gadgetry and haptic feedback, but, it does have a massage feature built into the chair. Which is nice.
So now, in the new Thronos Air, if you want to recline your chair, you pull a handle like the rest of us. Same goes for the monitor arm (which can take three 27-inch screens). Need to adjust the screen angle? No buttons here buster, just pop your chai latte in the optional cup holder (yes, optional) and grab the sturdy hand-rail. This rig is all manual hydraulics kiddo.
The original Thronos gaming chair was a 495-lb (224.5-kg) beast, and while there are no complete specs yet, it's fair to assume that in the absence of all that motorized trickery, the "Air" in the name Thronos Air means it's going to be lighter. Much lighter one would hope. The original model stood at around five feet (1.5 m), so it's probably safe to assume this model is similar. There's dedicated space for a Predator gaming PC (or any PC you prefer) behind the chair and Acer has gone to great lengths to hide the cabling between the PC bay and the monitor arm. There's also a footrest – because nobody games for a just a few minutes – and a camera mount above the middle monitor for your Twitch or YouTube livestream sessions. The chair reclines to 130 degrees (while within the Thronos cockpit and 180 degrees outside of it) and remember, it has a built-in massage function – because slaughtering hordes of rampaging snot-monsters is stressful work right?
What isn't included in the $14,000 price is your gaming PC, your monitor (or monitors), your keyboard and mouse. Acer also offers a bunch of optional extras such as a headset-holder, a USB hub, a camera, a seat-stabilizer to lock the chair in place during energetic gaming sessions, and of course, the cup holder. Honestly, if you're buying one of these for $14,000 and they don't at least throw in the cup holder for free, then something's wrong.
As mentioned earlier, Acer also announced the Planet9 next-generation eSports platform at the IFA 2019 press conference. Currently enlisting players for its second closed beta, Planet9 will kick off as a coaching and mentoring platform, and will eventually expand into a broader gaming community with scrimmage matches and tournaments. One of the more interesting aspects of the coaching setup is a feature called the "Carry format" where you play side-by-side with veteran players, who help you progress through the ranks, hopefully.
The Predator Thronos Air will be available in Q4 in North America starting at $13,999.
Check out the short promo video for the new Thronos Air below.