The first time Fernando Smit – founder and president of Playseat® – thought about building a racing chair, it was because he wanted a better way to play racing games. Based on his experience as race driver, he built his very own racing chair with the wheel at the right height and the pedals at the right distance, by using an old bucket seat. To make sure it was usable by others, this first version was already adjustable.
His racing chair was such a big success among friends and family that Fernando thought about producing a series of gaming chairs. After his brother suffered a heart attack at the age of 34, Fernando decided it was time to take the next step and do something he really wanted to do. In 2003 a local factory produced a hundred chairs and Playseat® was now officially in business.
With a bit of luck, we had a deal with Sony within a few weeks! When making the first official product photos, Fernando was tipped to place one of the chairs in a local game shop. Two weeks later, someone walked in the shop and was very excited about the gaming seat. He happened to work for PlayStation and Fernando gave him the chair, after which everything went very fast.
Sony saw the potential of Playseat® and became the distributor for Fernando’s company. He was the first to sell a product to Sony! After two years we widened our view and set our first steps towards the markets of PC and other game consoles.
Nowadays we sell thousands of chairs a year, with Europe as our main market. Playseat® is also very popular in America and Australia and has been introduced to the Brazilian and Asian markets. We manage the total distribution of the chairs together with our American and Italian partners. We ship the chairs ourselves and have warehouses in America, Europe and Asia. Design and development takes place in the Netherlands and production mostly takes place in China, where two Playseat® employees are stationed and more than one hundred local people assemble the chairs.
At this moment we have multiple official licenses to design chairs especially for big game franchises, such as WRC, Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo. Via these games Playseat® is promoted, to let the fans know there are racing chairs that are exactly what they are looking for. One of our latest collaborations is with Red Bull Racing, for whom we have made a special Red Bull F1 gaming chair.
Famous race drivers – such as world champion F1 driver Sebastian Vettel! – use Playseat® gaming chairs to train, which of course is a really nice way to be promoted. For other race drivers that use our chairs and acknowledge their high quality please check our testimonial page.
As a company, we want Playseat® to be as accessible as possible for consumers. If you look at worldwide popular sports like soccer, you notice that the product is everywhere around us; every one of us plays with a ball sometimes. We, at Playseat®, would like to generate the same feeling for racing with our gaming chairs.