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The rise of the global esports and gaming industry, as well as the work-from-home trend has seen growing issues of aches and pains faced by users from spending a prolonged amount of time sitting in front of their desks. The Drum finds out how Osim is addressing this.

Singapore-based health and wellness company Osim, best known for its massage chairs, made its maiden foray into the esports scene by launching uThrone at the end of 2020, touting it as “the world’s first gaming massage chair”.

The uThrone incorporates Osim’s health and wellness technologies housed within an ergonomically designed chair, for users who are gaming or working at their desks. The chair’s ambassador is Singaporean mandopop singer JJ Lin, who created his own chair in deep purple and gave out 17 chairs to his closest friends such as fellow musician Jay Chou, NBA star Jeremy Lin and DJ Steve Aoki.

Lynn Tan, deputy chief executive of Osim International, explains the company developed uThrone to address an unmet need amongst the growing pool of gamers, as well as working adults because expanding Osim’s products to address the needs of different demographics has always been an important part of the company’s vision.

In recent years, she says Osim has noticed its younger customers suffering from aches and pains due to changes in their lifestyles and habits as they spend an increasing amount of time sitting in front of their desks for either work or leisure.

To better understand the unique aches and pains experienced by gamers, Osim commissioned a survey with Ipsos in March 2020, before Singapore entered its lockdown period, officially termed as “circuit breaker”, to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“Our findings showed that a staggering 60% of Singaporean gamers surveyed experienced physical discomfort from extended periods of gaming. Shoulder and back pains were highlighted as key discomfort areas,” explains Tan.

“This issue would have no doubt been amplified as people spent more time indoors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, the one-of-kind uThrone gaming massage chair aims to address the needs of this growing pool of individuals, helping them to alleviate these pains before they turn into chronic health concerns. The launch of the uThrone is also timely given the exponential growth of the global e-sports and gaming industry.”

She continues: “As a long-time supporter of the Singaporean and regional sports scene, it was a natural next step for Osim to enter the e-sports industry. With the launch of the uThrone, we hope to support the increasing base of gamers and professional e-sports athletes in their journey and empower them to always bring their best for every game.”

Aside from launching uThrone, Osim is also sponsoring JJ Lin’s Team SMG, a multi-national e-sports organisation to further their ambitions in the global e-sports scene as part of its strategy to growing and supporting the global e-sports scene by forging connections with both casual and professional players around the world.

Through this partnership, Osim hopes to further the team’s efforts in developing the skills and capabilities of each player and see them succeed at top-tier international tournaments.

Tan explains that as the esports industry continues evolving, Osim is actively looking out for further opportunities to participate in the global esports scene through events and partnerships and remain committed to supporting esports teams and athletes across the world.

“Unfazed by the challenges that other physical competitions face during the pandemic, the popularity of esports shows no sign of abating, demonstrating that a growing pool of individuals will be able to benefit from products that address their immediate and long-term health and wellness concerns,” she says.

“The nature of the sport means that these athletes spend large amounts of time in a seated position in front of their computers, and we felt that much could be done to enhance their comfort. In addition, the pandemic has also reinforced the importance of taking care of one’s health and well-being when working from home – another key area that the uThrone looks to address.”

She adds: “Therefore, we are glad to be able to launch the uThrone at a time when our customers need it most, whether for gaming or to support their work-from-home needs. As we continue to evolve with our customers’ needs, we are constantly developing new and innovative products that seamlessly integrate into their lifestyles.”

These products include an eye massager (uVision 3), portable neck and shoulders massager (uCozy) and hand massager (uSqueez Hand) to help users rejuvenate and recharge.

As Osim continues to develop new and innovative products for its gaming line, Tan says the company will also look to partner with other global brands that are leaders in their respective industries, such as Acer’s Predator for the uThrone, to address emerging and overlooked health and wellness concerns, as well as create greater synergy and share in expertise.

“Looking ahead, we aim to remain at the forefront of innovation by integrating our time-tested massage technologies with modern day needs and remaining a trusted partner for our customers of all ages in the years to come,” she adds.

The exponential growth of the esports industry is projected to reach more than US$1.6 billion in market revenue by 2023. The Drum previously spoke to brands like Porsche on why it invested in esports during a pandemic and platforms like Storm on the rise of hyper-causal gaming.