Final Recommendations and Opinions
This is the part that I think Geoffrey really wants to know. He was curious to see if the device would sell in a real world simulation market and wants my opinion. Well, my honest opinion is I am not sure. No I am not waffling, I really am not sure.
The device has a lot of really good features; it is ergonomically comfortable and works very well with high end joysticks like the Cougar and CH equipment. I think it will fit the bill for a lot of simmers frustrated with the inability to find a comfortable spot for their stuff. It is a quick setup item that does not require a PHD to figure out. In general it will do what people want it to do and will I think that most people who use the thing will be satisfied with it, in fact I think they will be happy. I really like the thing and plan on using it for quite a while. It’s a simple design that works well for what I want it to do.
Still, there are problems with the SimSit, some probably fixable, some probably not. Since it probably won’t work with at least half of the desk chairs currently made I see a major problem brewing. Some people will go out and get another chair but I think a lot of people will find the idea of buying a whole new chair just to accommodate a piece of hardware unacceptable. In a way they are right.
Geoffrey isn’t sure what the final price of the SimSit will be but to be honest anything over 125 dollars probably will put it out of the range of most gamers. Many guys are deeply invested in their HOTAS controllers, TrackIRs, video cards, computer upgrades and funky surround sound speakers systems. Selling them on the need for this add on, especially if they need a new chair, might be a little bit hard. It probably will be real hard if they have a spouse that looks at them like they are insane to start out with.
I think that in some ways that this is less of a niche product than other similar products like the TrackIR. While developed for the simulation market in particular the SimSit could easily be adapted for use for a lot of different markets. I could actually see a modified version of the SimSit placed on many office chairs. There is a utilitarian use for this device that could possibly generate more revenue than the simulation market ever could.
Ultimately this is the problem that I have with the SimSit. Geoffrey really wants to mass produce this device and have it sold in more mainstream stores or marketed by companies like Saitek or CH. I think a lot of this depends on storage and the ability to sell items. I don’t see places like CompUSA stocking shelves with the SimSit. Most hard core flight sim gear has disappeared from places like Best Buy or Circuit City. The likelihood that something as large and bulky as the SimSit would make shelf space in places like those listed above seems remote to me. I could be wrong, it does happen, but I doubt it. Joystick manufacturers might sell it directly but I think the best place to sell such an item is from places like Flightsim.com or Flightsimcentral.com.
I personally think the best way to market this is to eliminate all the extra cost that may comes with the device. The device could be sold prefabricated with the buyer doing the final assembly. Anyone with a screwdriver and some wood glue should easily be able to put a SimSit together. The buyer could then finish the SimSit in whatever finish he or she may like. This prefab method would make for a smaller shipping size, would allow for easier storage of pre sold items and may actually make some online venders, like Flightsim.com or even Chips and Bits more inclined to risk some warehouse space for the device. Any cabinet shop could easily reproduce the components used in the SimSit, probably for a relatively inexpensive price.
So ultimately I do believe that this could be a reasonable successful item but probably not in the mass produced method. It has its drawbacks, and some people won’t be able to get past them, but it does have its appeal and it certainly makes flying feel more fun and realistic.
The SimSit web site is here.