Ergonomics Of Gaming Gear
Hardware manufacturers, which specialises in gaming products, need to be designing products that can be taken to the extreme. This means that they are not just designing gear for surfing the Internet. It’s not for 45-minute tasks. Gaming gear consumers are looking for comfort above all else. Gamers do not want to invest in a product that will give them cramps after playing a game for 6–8 hours.
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.
As gaming gear manufacturers get more and more serious, they are starting to move away from one-model-fits all type, to gear designed for specific types of games. For First Person Shooters (FPS), players aim for precision and speed. And as a natural consequence of that, players will hold their fingers closer together and also hold the mouse itself a bit tighter. Manufacturers must accommodate that tendency.
Gaming mice manufacturers must consider the three main types of 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 emphasise increased finger dexterity, although they both are more fatiguing.
The gaming manufacturers need to be heavily involved with the gaming community, in order to successfully design products. Using gaming communities as testing grounds for will not only help the manufactures gain visibility, but it’s vital to optimising the performance of their products. It will drive manufacturers to aim for perfection. It’s their frontline for product validation and marketing.
Many leading brands also partner with professional gaming teams, in order to ensure that they are reaching their intended consumers. Professional gamers can give feedback on the early versions of the products to make sure that they are optimised. That way, they can be addressing improvements the gamers wish to see in the future products. It’s the kind of hands-on testing the manufacturers can ultimately benefit from, in order to remain competitive.
After combining the genre of a game with the player-preferred style of use, and direct feedback from the pros, the manufacturers can create a comfortable and effective gaming peripherals. The manufacturers and gamers can participate in revolutionising the way a game is played through such hands-on testing procedures.
Leading gaming chair manufacturers similarly work closely with professional gaming teams to improve their products in the long run, to improve the look and comfort. Some of the leading gaming chair manufacturers have invested in years of research for innovation, which has resulted in a wide range of products for ergonomic gaming and office chairs, with refined gaming inspired designs.
For example, with gaming mice designs, the way the mouse follows the natural movement of the gamers thumb can make response time quicker, making the experience much more enjoyable. On the other hand, a player who prefers the claw-grip might want a sleeker, slimmer design, which accommodates the claw-grip hand tendencies. An FPS player might prefer a mouse that’s more streamlined by design, with fewer buttons.
A mouse’s sensitivity is measured in DPI (dots per inch); the higher a mouse’s DPI, the further the cursor will move in correspondence to the mouse’s movement. Generally, professional players turn their DPI all the way down, from a maximum DPI of 16000 to 800 or even 400. This gives players more control, but it also means that their hand movements might drag the mouse way off center — even off the pad. This is why some gaming mice have side grips, made out of rubber moulded plastic, so the player can lift and re-centre the mouse for comfort.
Similarly, gaming keyboards have different types of switches under the keys, which require different amounts of force, depending on the style of gaming. Over the years, a player can get tendon damage from gaming peripherals, so the gaming manufacturers strive to minimise such damages while exerting force. The aim is for players to exert forces for many hours, and still avoid damaging tendons.
Are gaming products gaming exclusive, or can they be used for other tasks as well? For instance, graphic designers can benefit from the precision of gaming mice. And the programmable buttons, which are traditionally mapped to game functions, can be mapped to traditional office functions instead. A lot of tech geeks who work in I.T. fields, are gamers, and they may have to buy products for their company, and many gaming products will have higher durability and performance than non-gaming products. When you buy a gaming product, you know that you’re getting something that is extremely thought out. It’s more consistent. It has better tracking. It’s not going to fade, and it’s going to be ultra-durable. After all, they are tools, and not toys.