Pro-gaming can be an expensive hobby. Competitive gamers are the sort of people willing to splash hunderds of pounds on a mouse or a headset.
These products are often fully customisable and designed to give players that extra edge in the heat of battle. And manufacturers are clambering to get their peripherals featured during the live matches.
“As pros develop their own fanbase, more people take notice of the headsets, controllers, peripherals and attire that they use,” says European Gaming League’s Joshua Nino De Guzman.
“Some fans take an interest in a particular product because it’s used by their favourite player, whilst others will be looking to purchase the same gear in order to aid their gaming performance.”
Companies like MadCatz, Turtle Beach and SteelSeries team up with pro gamers when building its latest tech. And they sponsor the teams and tournaments to get the word about their products out there.
“Millions of people tune in to watch the tournaments, and all the players are using gear specifically built for tournament play,” says Turtle Beach’s eSports chief marketing officer Bob Picunko.
“Our relationship with Major League Gaming gives us the opportunity to meet with fans and share our passion. Professional gamers are a great source of inspiration for developing our products and we take their input very seriously.
“We’re in a great position where tournaments, leagues and pro gamers are coming to us and saying, ‘Hey, it would be awesome if you guys made a headset that did this’. We can take that input, work with our engineers and develop products based on what our customers are seeking.”
James Dean from eSports peripherals specialist SteelSeries adds: “Competitive gaming is a culture, a part of mainstream entertainment, it has the potential to have the same recognition as baseball or snowboarding.
“SteelSeries creates products that helps competitive players win. The way that brands like Nike or Adidas backs runners and olympic athletes, we sponsor eSports players.
“We believe that if our products can be the tools that professional players use to win, then consumers will trust and recognise our brand as the best. We believe in working with and supporting the best players and tournaments in eSports.”