The Gamrpod, a Soundproof Micro Studio, Aims to Change the Way Gamers and Podcasters Work
Anyone who’s tried to focus at their desk, only to be distracted by chatter, phone pings and snacks crunching, understands the value of a quiet workplace. But for professional gamers and video creators, unwelcome sounds are not only annoying but can show up, uninvited, in video and audio content, getting in the way of a quality performance.
For background: professional gamers play video games and compete in tournaments as a career. Similarly, others create live or recorded videos or podcasts. Some are even famous YouTubers who have made millions of dollars from their channels. To provide a solution, Temple University alumni Dalton Carroll and Sam Speaker, both 30, have created a soundproof gaming and recording booth called Gamrpod.
Carroll, now a Sarasota resident, met Speaker in college when the two were paired together as roommates. They quickly bonded over a shared passion for video games and spent hours after class playing. In 2019, Speaker was looking to launch his video recording career and quickly discovered the high cost of soundproof office pods and recording equipment. Because it was so expensive, Speaker decided instead to funnel his money into developing a new product that would fit both his gaming and recording needs. He and Carroll built their own prototype soundproof micro-studio in Carroll’s garage and named it the Gamrpod.
Carroll and Speaker tested the first version of Gamrpod at the Tap Esports Center in Philadelphia. “Kids without their own recording equipment could jump into a Gamrpod to create videos,” says Carroll, “and it helped them break away from the sounds of others talking and chip bags opening.” The pair then collected data and user feedback from the trials and applied them into the latest version of the unit, which was released about six months ago.
The current four-foot-by-four-foot Gamrpod looks like a one-person church pew in a glass box. In it, the chair sits behind a small desk and two monitor screens, with enough space for one person and maybe a feline friend. The chair and back wall are covered in blue screens, which function like green screens to allow the user to change the background image. More practically, online professors can turn it into a classroom backdrop. The Gamrpod also features built-in lighting and ventilation to keep both the pod and tower compartment cool.
While Carroll and Speaker initially designed the pod for gamers, another market soon emerged.
“We started getting inquiries about placing the units in university tech centers,” says Carroll, “which both professors and students could use for online classes instead of taking up an entire group study room.” Today, these tech centers are as ubiquitous on college campuses as libraries, and function in a similar manner. Students can check out cameras, laptops and other equipment just like they would check out a book. The Temple University Tech Center is now home to two Gamrpods, which students use for free to complete projects and other activities, such as podcasting.
Anyone can purchase a Gamrpod for their home, but Carroll says the product is really intended for use in university and business settings.
"One Gamrpod costs about $9,995," he says, "and many companies will purchase ad space on the exterior of the Gamrpod, using it as a billboard, which can help offset the cost." It may seem lavish, but Carroll points out that purchasing a few Gamrpods is more cost-efficient than building a new recording facility.
Like all workspaces, the Gamrpod has its pros and cons. Illustrator and video voiceover recorder Andrew Theophilopoulos likes the privacy it offers, but worries about the ergonomics of the product. “I wish it had a standing desk,” he says, unsure of how comfortable the built-in seat would be for long periods.
Carroll says that due to building code constraints, the Gamrpod, currently manufactured in Canada, is not wheelchair accessible. However, he adds that users who can dismount their wheelchair onto the bench should be able to maneuver from their wheelchair into the pod.
Professional League of Legends player Arthur Cruz, on the other hand, finds the Gamrpod to be futuristic and impressive. “It looks like something out of a movie,” says the 25-year-old Brazilian gamer.
Cruz often travels to larger cities like São Paulo to compete in esports championships, sharing a gaming office with other team members. During the off-season, he trains from one in his parents’ home. “When I’m at the gaming office in São Paulo, the environment is designed for concentration,” he says, “but at home, my mom will fling open the door and start talking to me about random things.” Cruz adds that most of the time, his family respects his workspace and minimizes distractions, but the Gamrpod could be useful when other family members want to share his office space while he's working.
“There’s a stereotype that gamers are nerdy, antisocial and just sit alone in front of the computer screen,” says Cruz, “but there are many people, like me, who are social and enjoy gaming as well as other activities, like physical sports such as soccer.”
Indeed, Carroll describes the gaming community as open and inclusive. “If you’re a fairly large professional gamer, your community will not only watch your live video recording but chat with you and each other,” he says.
Another bonus: while you can't communicate on the field with professional athletes like David Beckham, you can chat with pro gamers while they record live videos during gameplay. This level of connectivity means that multitasking gamers and live streamers must focus even more on creating quality content and meaningful fan interactions, devoid of distraction.
“Gaming is like normal sports,” says Cruz, “and I consider myself to be an athlete.”
To learn more about the Gamrpod or get a quote, click here.