Ergonomics for Competitive Gaming

If you ask Gamers what they want out of a gaming mouse, you'll get a lot of different answers. Some people prioritize looks; glossy surfaces, metal accents, customizable lighting effects. Others will say that Tech is the most important; high resolution optical sensor, high DPI range, customizable weights. But none of these features matter if you can't use your mouse do to RSI or Carpal Tunnel Pain.

On average, over 8 million people are diagnosed with Carpul Tunnel Syndrome in the US each year. Not only is this number on the rise since the introduction of the personal computer, but competitive gamers who are making careers playing games are even more susceptible to pain over time due to repetitive strain. Unfortunately, for many gamers, ergonomics translates into large mice that are heavy and don't allow for the quick response needed to win.

So the question becomes, "How do you make an Ergonomic Gaming mouse with a competitive edge?" At 1337, this is what we are trying to achieve.

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Observing the Competitive Gaming Market

The current competitive gaming market is ruled by a handful of influential brands. The most popular of which are Logitech, Razer, SteelSeries, and Corsair. Although each brand has their own unique style, they typically share the same few characteristics when it comes to making successful gaming mice for esports.

Body Curvature: All of the top mice share a similar body shape that starts low in the back, rises to a peak between 1/2 and 2/3's of the length, and tapers back down towards the front. Razer and Corsair do a good job of elevating the fingertips on their designs, however Razer goes a step further by providing nice indentations on the keys. 

Thumb and Ring Finger: The Thumb and Ring Finger are the anchor points during active mousing. This free's up the Index and Middle fingers for clicking. It's because of this that the most successful mice are designed to support those areas by creating indentations which cup the finger pads. The indentations also allow the palm and wrist to be centered on the mouse as opposed to cocked out at an angle. This can be seen when using symmetrical mice, which is why I wouldn't recommend them for those who need more ergonomic support.

 

Textures and Finishes:  Textures can be great for gaming. They provide grip for handling as well as being a method for tactile identification of different buttons or surfaces. However, some mice go overboard with texture because they're using it for visual appeal and not feel. Textures that are simpler and softer work well and are less distracting. Also, texture can be substituted for matte coating or tooled texturing and be equal useful.

Weight: For competitive gamers, lighter is better. After testing and weighing, I found that the top mice for competitive gamers are about 90-95 grams on average. Mice that break 100 grams are trying too heavy and will cause hand and arm fatigue over a tournament or marathon gaming session. 

More Stuff, More Problems: The majority of competition gamers use simple miceThey're light weight, easily to pack up between competitions, and don't require memorization of layouts like more complicated "button heavy" mice.

Making our Ergonomic Gaming Mice

Having taken a look at the market, I began to think about concepts that would uphold the positive qualities of a competitive gaming mouse while also include ergonomic benefits; all without diminishing a gamers skill.

Early concepts explored the possibility of an Angled Gaming Mouse. By tilting the surface 45 degrees, gamers would be using different muscle groups and taking pressure off of their wrist. As well, the mouse would have a unique appearance and could appeal to FPS (First Person Shooter) fans by having a "trigger-like" feel.

Later ideations explored adaptations of existing popular shapes while focusing on ergonomic changes to surfacing, use of textures, and material choices to create a better mouse.