We now live in a world where teenagers can earn millions of dollars, secure lucrative sponsorship deals and rack up enormous fan bases by simply playing video games. Esports pros are now idolised with a sort of fervour previously reserved for A-list actors, rock stars and the world’s leading athletes.
These gamers have benefited from a number of exciting technological developments in recent years, from the rollout of high-speed broadband to the advent of Twitch. They have also been able to take advantage of the sort of wondrous gadgets that gamers could only dream of a decade ago. These are the gadgets that have really made esports the popular culture phenomenon that it is today:
You will note that the vast majority of pro gamers use a mouse and keyboard as opposed to a controller. Mice are inherently faster and more precise when it comes to aiming at a target, and that makes it a crucial piece of hardware for any CS:GO or Overwatch superstar.
However, gamers are not using the sort of basic mice you find in offices across the world. A gaming mouse is a thing of beauty – sleek, chic, comfortable, lightweight and customisable, with great ergonomics and a suite of amazing features.
You can pay as much as $100 for a top gaming mouse, but you will be rewarded with a gadget that can propel you to superstardom. Games like League of Legends and Dota 2 require a huge amount of actions per minute, and having the right mouse can make all the difference.
Check out the Razer Viper, SteelSeries Rival 170 and the Logitech G502 Hero for examples of brilliant gaming mice.
One of the most important pieces of kit for any LoL, CS:GO or Dota 2 star is a mechanical keyboard. The more ubiquitous membrane keyboards do not feature keys separated into distinct moving parts, so they are not as effective for gaming.
Mechanical keyboards began appearing all the way back in the 1970s, but they have largely been phased out in favour of membrane keyboards. Yet they are now making a comeback among gamers.
A mechanical keyboard individual switches under each key, providing a tactile bump and an audible click when you type. They are faster, more precise and more responsive to keystrokes.
Crucially, they are also more comfortable. Esports pros can generally expect to spend upwards of 12 hours a day playing their game of choice, and the risk of repetitive strain injury is high, so they need to take every precaution possible.
Mechanical keyboards are noisier than their membrane counterparts, but they offer different levels of audible noise, plus resistance and tactile feedback, so you can find ways of negating that. It is a more individually tailored typing experience.
Take a look at the DAS Keyboard X50Q RGB mechanical gaming keyboard for a shining example of a beautifully engineered gadget that can help esports pros beat the competition.
Noise Cancelling Headset
Communication is vital for leading esports teams. If you check out Unikrn’s esports markets, you will see Danish powerhouse Astralis installed as the favourites for every CS:GO tournament they enter, and that is largely down to their exemplary teamwork.
They issue short, sharp, efficient call-outs to one another throughout a match as they vie for glory, and this is one reason why you need a great headset that cancels out background noise. You need to be able to hear commands from the in-game leader and call-outs from your teammates, while also listening to the action develop in the match, so you need to invest in a top headset to flourish in this competitive field.
The CORSAIR Void Pro RGB wireless gaming headset is a fine example of a noise-cancelling headset that marries a slick, lightweight, comfortable design with a high level of performance, including custom tuned 50 mm neodymium drivers and a 7.1 surround system make it easier to locate your enemies in FPS games like CS:GO, Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch and Call of Duty.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S, SteelSeries Arctis Pro and Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero are also strong examples of gaming headsets.
A chair is not strictly a gadget, but it is important to note that you cannot make it as an esports star by sitting in a rickety old wooden chair all day long. Professionals need to sit and train for hours on end, so they need something comfortable and supportive.
A top gaming chair will also help you maintain concentration during a big match, as you will be freed from the distractions a painful chair can cause. The Secretlab Omega, replete with a racing seat, velour memory foam pillows, a 165-degree recline and a versatile tilt mechanism is a chair that can revolutionise your gaming experience.
Another option would be the high-tech, well-priced Nitro Concepts S300, featuring a comfortable, ergonomic design, or the Epic Series leather gaming chair.
Nowadays the world’s leading gamers are all streaming their exploits via platforms like Twitch, YouTube and Mixer while they play. That would not be possible without a trusty webcam, and there are some really exciting options on the market now.
For instance, the Logitech BRIO boasts 4K resolution with a 30 FPS rate and a 90-degree field of view. The image quality is superb, it supports HDR recording and the saturation is great. Logitech also makes the C922, which offers 60 FPS video while streaming, along with background removal and low-light correction.
Elsewhere, the Razer Kiyo is another excellent option for streaming, and you can check out the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 for a cheaper option.
Superstar streamer Ninja was reportedly paid $100 million to move from Twitch to Mixer full-time earlier this year, showing just how lucrative it can be. A webcam requires an initial investment, but you can really reap the benefits if you release interesting videos that showcase your gaming prowess and magnetic personality.