These days, esports are serious business with serious stakes. And with just about every major gamer trying to break onto the pro esports scene, having the edge on the competition is everything. While skill and strategy certainly come into play here, pro gamers wouldn’t get too far without also investing in the best gear for the job.
However, with the vast range of gaming genres on the professional scene, it goes without saying that there is rarely going to be any single type of gear ideal for the job each time. MMO, MOBA and FPS players all require very different things for their ideal setup. Over at HotRate, they’ve done the research to help you understand what the pros use to gain their edge in the industry.
The one standard between the lot is having a solid gaming PC. That is, of course, unless we’re talking about console gaming, in which case the console does all the heavy lifting by default. Regardless of your preferred genre, you’re going to need a pretty powerful and reliable rig if you really want to break onto the esports scene. Rather than suggesting a specific unit or component, as the technology is always evolving, we’ll explore some of the minimum general requirements for an Esports PC. For gaming in general, the bare minimum RAM you’ll want is 8GB. However, if you want to get serious, 16GB should be your go-to as a minimum, as modern games are becoming more and more demanding by the year. A solid CPU for competitive gaming will have a base or boost clock speed around 3.5 – 4.0 GHz, however its more important to have better single-thread performance. To bring these components together, above all you’ll want a solid GPU. Nvidia are the top choice among professional gamers. Right now, the likes of the RTX 3060, 3070 and 3080 are the top of the range, but this will change.
Immersion is among one of the most important things when it comes to professional gaming. That’s why a good gaming monitor is vital, with a sufficiently high resolution and refresh rate to ensure your games run as smoothly as possible. In concrete terms, you’ll ideally want to look for a monitor with a resolution around 1440p and a refresh rate of 144Hz to 240Hz if you really want to gain an edge. Among the most popular monitors are the BenQ Zowie XL2546 and XL2540 with their fold-out light-blocking shields to reduce distractions and therefore improve immersion. Other popular options include the likes of the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q with their larger curved screens to provide a totally different dimension of immersion.
When it comes to FPS games in particular, having crystal clear and accurate audio is going to be imperative to your strategy and performance. To have an edge on your opponents, you need to be able to hear exactly where sounds are coming from to react within a split second. At the same time, a top-quality microphone is also going to be vital for communicating clearly and effectively with teammates in competitive matches. The most popular headset brand by far is HyperX, with the Cloud II and Cloud Alpha models taking the throne as one of the most used headsets by professional gamers.
Gaming mice are where things begin to stray significantly depending on the game genre. While models such as the Logitech G Pro Wireless is among the most subscribed to mice right now, the likes of this mouse would be better suited to all-round gaming. Where MMOs and MOBAs are concerned, professionals often prefer a mouse with extensive additional macros built into their mouse for greater ease and efficiency. Models such as the Corsair Scimitar and the Razer Naga Hex are particularly popular for this exact reason.
In much the same way, gaming keyboards are pivotal to success in professional esports. While standard full-sized keyboards like the Logitech G513 are ideal for all-round gaming, they lack many of the extra flare such as programmable macros that pro gamers swear by. The Razer BlackWidow range of keyboards are particularly heralded among the esports scene for their gaming-oriented features and flamboyance. Some keyboards even like to go the extra mile, with the likes of the many weird and wonderful ergonomic keyboards designed to ensure ultimate comfort, ease and efficiency. These can range from rather tame and simple models such as the Kinesis Freestyle Edge to the truly bizarre Razer Tartarus, packed to the teeth with just about every feature you could imagine for professional gaming.
Beyond this core equipment, you should also spare some thought for your overall battle station, including a solid gaming desk and comfortable gaming chair. However, these more often tend to come down to personal preference.
If you really want to try to get a good grounding in the esports industry as it stands today, then any of the gear mentioned above should set you up nicely. As we’ve already noted, though, technology is always evolving, so the best gear this year likely won’t be top-of-the-line next year. If you’re serious about breaking into the scene, you should also keep an eye on developments within the community to avoid losing your potential edge going forward.