Chris Mut is the CEO of nerdytec, a gaming hardware manufacturer based out of Germany. The Couchmaster is the ultimate gaming accessory for PC gamers who want to play from the comfort of their own couch. In this Slogging thread, we talk about nerdytec, Netflix, and the future of the gaming industry, considering the growing impact of video game streaming platforms and services.
This Slogging thread by Limarc Ambalina, Chris Mut, Amy Shah, Zaeem Shoaib, Jack Boreham, Mónica Freitas, Katarina Andrejević and Kamal Slaoui occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.
Hey everyone, please join me in welcoming our next AMA guest Chris Mut, the CEO of nerdytec, a gaming hardware manufacturer based out of Germany. They are the company behind the Couchmaster, which is the ultimate gaming accessory for PC gamers who wanna play from the comfort of their own couch!
Please feel free to ask Chris anything about:
Thanks for joining us Chris Mut!
Hello, everyone! I'm Chris Mut from nerdytec and I'm very happy to be part of this interview. With my partner and good friend Roman Jakob, we built the Couchmaster in my garage in 2011 so that we could play games on the computer from the comfort of our couch. It was a very exciting time in which we founded nerdytec and went the way to get a patent for the different Couchmaster versions. We see a lot of sense in playing or working from the couch because you can play with friends and use the computer in a much healthier way for your back, neck and wrists. With more and more streaming services in which you can simply borrow the required computer, the Smart TV is also becoming more and more interesting for gaming. The opinion of other computer users have always been very important to us and that is why I am looking forward to receive new insights into your wishes and experiences through your questions.
Welcome Chris Mut! Curious about what the inspiration for the Couchmaster was? How did you make the first prototype?
Amy Shah Hi Amy, thanks for your question :) Our inspiration was born like on most people: out of passion. My friend Roman and I have always been passionate gamers. We loved everything that had to do with gaming. The latest peripherals, the best graphics, the newest games. In addition, we always loved better and newer monitors or televisions. So we began to play from a projector on a screen while sitting on a couch. But we quickly noticed that the ergonomics suffered greatly when using the mouse and keyboard on the couch. This is how the creative process began in my garage. :)
Super interesting (and comfortable) product you’ve built! I have a question about the common use cases you see from your customers. The majority of players have a separate room for their PC and the big TV is normally in the living room. Do most of your users have 2 PCs? 1 in the living room and one in their office for work? Or is there some setup I’m not aware of where people can stream play their PC games in the living room on the couch without moving their desktop?
Limarc Ambalina Hi Limarc, yes a very good question. Every gamer will ask himself this question as soon as he gets to know the Couchmaster: Do I have to buy a new computer to use this couch solution or do I have to do strength training so that I can always carry the PC from the office at home to the living room? In my experience, most people take a different solution after they have tested the Couchmaster and leave their favorite PC right next to the big TV. But there are also practicable solutions such as the Nvidia shield as a streaming box over the network or the Steam app on the smart TV, which also uses the home network for playback. Another possibility is of course to rent a PC like from the guys from Shadow, or a little more limited in the selection at Google stadia. I noticed that nowadays there are many more opportunities to pursue your hobby on the PC while sitting on the couch or in the bed. I clearly see a trend there.
Hey Chris Mut! I was wondering whether your product has seen a surge in demand after the pandemic? Are there any plans to make a more home office/work-from-home oriented product? Also wanted to know if there has been any demand to make the Couchmaster more portable, storage wise?
The pandemic is a really terrible thing and we deeply regret all of the victims. I suffered from it myself and am very grateful that I got over the virus. We all had a bad times at home with restricted contact. During this time, the Couchmaster worked a lot in the home office and helped me to pass the long time at home while gaming. I think the Couchmaster was able to help a lot of people with that. The Cybot and Cyworx versions are well suited for using a laptop. However, the upward trend we recognize some time before the pandemic.
At the moment we are only planning to improve and expand the existing mouse and keyboard versions Cycon2 and the laptop versions Cyworx and Cybot. The latest prototype in our nerd laboratory will, for example, add a feature to the Cycon2 that the gaming world has never seen before. but shhh I can't reveal too much yet :)
Hi Chris Mut, it's great to have you here. How much research with experts did you do to design the couch master? Am I guessing a fair amount considering the ergonomics of the chair? By the way, I don't even own a PC, and I want one; it looks great even for laptop users.
Jack Boreham It's a pleasure :) Yes you are totally right! We only choose the world's best experts to improve ergonomics and adapt the connection options to their needs: the users and gamers themselves! Our first step after we had screwed the first couchmaster, then still made of wood, was to go to one of the largest trade fairs and to interview all interested people by ourselves. At Gamescom we experienced a real surprise. Our exhibition stand was really overrun by visitors. We received over 15,000 survey documents filled out and most of them wrote that they had never been able to pursue their favorite hobby in such a relaxed manner. It took a lot of time to evaluate all opinions. So the Cycon2 is to be honest already the sixth version of the Couchmaster and so far we have included improvements in every production which we have mostly received from the end users. The drinks bag on the side was requested by most of the interested people. The also often requested toilet seat for the couch, on the other hand, did not make it into development :D
Hi Chris Mut! Love the Couchmaster concept. How do you think you can push Couchmaster and Nerdytec further? Will there be an option for those of us lazy enough to want to take gaming to bed? A Bedmaster of some sort?
Mónica Freitas Hi dear Monica! Nice question :) I never intended to influence other people's bed activities, but yes, the Couchmaster can be used anywhere ... in bed on the couch doing yoga ... we received a photo of a user of his Couchmaster on the beach :D You see Couchmaster is there for everyone and can be used anywhere. We are already working on a more portable version with self-inflating air cushions. But maybe we will develop a version with massage function if that was your idea :)
I’m also interested Chris in how much you have riding on Games-As-A-Service streaming platforms like Netflix. To test the couchmaster out I didn’t want to lug my desktop PC downstairs so I dusted off the Good ol’ Steam link and I tell you…I though the Steam link was pretty worthless before but now it’s amazing 😄 I’ll definitely be playing more PC games via Steam link on my couchmaster in my living room.
With this use case in mind, do you have insight on how much the Games-As-A-Service industry is growing and how that’ll affect your business?
Limarc Ambalina I am of course very happy to hear that you have so much fun on your Couchmaster. As we always say, the real "Couchmaster Feeling" you only get after a few hours of totally relaxed lying and gaming. Then relaxing your neck your hands will fly over the keyboard and mouse!
Yes, in fact, I've already been able to gain experience with Nvidia shield, steam app, shadow and so on. I think this is a good solution to give people with an extra desk in the house the opportunity to play on the fat TV. Put your feet up, put your favorite drink in your side pocket and start playing.
So to be honest, I think that very soon all gamers with large screens or projectors will lie comfortably on the couch instead of sitting at the desk all day just to hang back at the desk in the evening after work.
I love my nice couch and my hot new Couchmaster Titan, so yes, I'm sure everyone will love it soon :)
Hi Chris Mut! How frequent was the question "how to iron the cushions" before you decided to add it to your sitemap footer?
Katarina Andrejević 😂 I never thought before that people was so interested in iron their cushions at home but YES! it is the main question we got in history of the Couchmaster ... Not whether the Couchmaster can speak, if it can be used without electricity or even if it can fly if you play with it long enough! No! the important side pillows are the first thing gamers have in mind and whether they can be ironed! Crazy times we live in ...: D
Hey Chris Mut as a PC gamer myself, I loved your Couchmaster! Question for you what does the future of gaming look like? Especially with new experiences and accessories. Thanks!
Hi Kamal! Thank you for that nice words! The future of gaming is totally clear for me: We will all dive into reality-distorting games and graphics, in which we can be everything we can imagine, do everything we could never have dreamed of and travel to places we never have knew before ... We'll see whether it will be the Couchmaster 2000 or 2001. ;)
But it will be really awesome, I'm sure ...
Talking more about the game streaming market Chris Mut, how do you think Netflix’s upcoming game offerings might impact the quality of gaming experience for players? What do game streaming platforms need to do for this way of gaming to become mainstream?
Limarc Ambalina At the beginning Netflix will start only with small mobile games. I think this will be only a test. But in future I see many offers from different platforms offering the most easy way to play all the games. Even the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation could be already a streaming based solution. It's all a question of fast internet and users that prefer to rent a console/pc than to pay expensive for it and in case of PCs have to update it for the current best graphics. Renting it might also never get broken. So yes I see future in games streaming, and yes this will be much more easy to use the Couchmaster on the Couch or bed on smart television.
And how do you think Netflix's future offerings will affect the market overall? Do you see this becoming a competitor for Xbox and PlayStation or not really?
Yes I think this will bring some changes on market. As we see on games market today only with a code we can buy our games. Why not renting a computer or console system on internet. Important is that the internet speed will be guaranteed and the system should run over smart TVs. Also updating of the software and hardware will be important for people who prefer to have every games on the highest options. We will see what other platforms like Amazon will do on this market. I am really looking forward :)
Thanks for joining us Chris! We appreciate all your insights