The Ergonomics Behind Pro Gaming Gear

The Ergonomics Behind Pro Gaming Gear December 26, 2016 // 01:00 PM EST www.motherboard.vice.com Actions per minute, or APM, refers to a game player’s ability to execute multiple keystrokes and mouse clicks within 60 seconds. The average Starcraft II professional player can average 300 APM. And when a competitor’s fingers move that quickly, for hours on end, one risks stress and injury.

Enter specially designed gaming mice and gaming keyboards, which enhance players’ skills and reduce inevitable wear and tear. Hardware manufacturer SteelSeries, which specializes in gaming products, is a pioneer of its field.

“We are designing something for the very extreme,” said SteelSeries industrial lead designer Rasmus Madsen in an interview with Motherboard. “We’re not designing products for browsing the Internet. This is not something you’ll do for 45 minutes.”

Actions per minute, or APM, refers to a game player’s ability to execute multiple keystrokes and mouse clicks within 60 seconds. The average Starcraft II professional player can average 300 APM. And when a competitor’s fingers move that quickly, for hours on end, one risks stress and injury.

Enter specially designed gaming mice and gaming keyboards, which enhance players’ skills and reduce inevitable wear and tear. Hardware manufacturer SteelSeries, which specializes in gaming products, is a pioneer of its field.

“We are designing something for the very extreme,” said SteelSeries industrial lead designer Rasmus Madsen in an interview with Motherboard. “We’re not designing products for browsing the Internet. This is not something you’ll do for 45 minutes.”

“The buyer is looking for comfort over everything else,” said product category manager Jason Christian, also speaking with Motherboard. “After playing a game for six to eight hours, they want [a product] that won’t make their hand cramp up.”

To fully accommodate its diverse customers, SteelSeries cannot build a “catch-all” mouse.

“More and more, we define [the mouse] for the specific game,” Christian said.

For an FPS (first-person shooter), players wants to be as precise and quick as possible. And as a natural consequence of that, according to Madsen, players will hold their fingers closer together and also hold the mouse itself a bit tighter. SteelSeries must accommodate that tendency.

SteelSeries must consider the three main mouse grips. There’s the palm grip, the most common grip amongst average computer users, where the entire palm lays over the mouse. Although it is the most comfortable, it primarily engages the wrist and back of the hand, meaning that the fingers are less quick and precise.

There’s the claw grip, which creates six points of contact with the mouse—the back of the palm and the five fingers—creating an arch.

There’s the fingertips grip, which only engages the mouse with the five fingers. Both the claw and the fingertips grip emphasize increased finger dexterity, although they both are more fatiguing.

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