In our quarterly series on the most popular PC gaming gear, we take a deep look at the gear that the best players in the world are using and how those particular gear markets are evolving. In the second quarter of 2023, we’ve seen the rise of one particular Dutch gaming keyboard, the transition from 240Hz to 360Hz, and the redemption of some of the old favorites in the gaming mouse scene.
Read all about it in our article!
These lists should always be taken with a grain of salt. This is not a ‘use this gear to git gud’ type of article: we’ve merely commenting on the trends that we’re seeing in a the professional gaming scene here. If you’re interested in how sponsorships affect this you can always read , but in short: keyboards and headsets are rather heavily influenced by sponsorships, whereas other peripherals really seem to be quite sponsorship-free these days, with mice being the least swayed by sponsorships.
Do note that it’s always important to get gear that matches you personally. It makes absolutely no sense to go for a mouse that doesn’t fit your hands and grip style at all just because your favorite pro uses it, for example. You also shouldn’t get a 360 monitor if you have a budget PC that can barely put out 60 . Always consider your own options and your own situation before committing your money to any piece of equipment.
1275 analyzed players, using 59 different monitors across 14 different brands
It has taken a bit of time, but the 360Hz revolution finally seems to be here in full force. Monitors capable of displaying 360 frames per second have been out for quite some time, but it did seem like the professional scene needed a bit of convincing before moving on from 240Hz to 360Hz.
We suspect that might have a little something to do with that, however. Their has been the de facto standard issue gaming monitor for years now, and we saw many players sticking to their beloved / (which, if you didn’t know, are 240Hz monitors) even when 360Hz monitors started popping up. When finally came out with a monitor capable of displaying 360 frames per second, we saw the start of a big move towards this new refresh rate standard.
This move is still ongoing, as you can see in the data. ZOWIE’s 240Hz monitors are being dropped by pros, and the has been the preferred replacement, with the monitor gaining a whopping 7% of market share over the past three months.
Given the fact that they were quite late to the party, some people may have had doubts about ZOWIE’s longevity in the monitor scene, but the numbers don’t lie and the adoption rates of the XL2566K show that the brand is still very much on top of things. If you want to get an esports monitor, ZOWIE should be your first stop according to the pros.
Most Used Monitor Brands
Most Used Monitors
1372 analyzed players, using 149 different mice across 21 different brands
After a brief drop in Q1 of 2023, the omnipresent is still gaining users. When compared to the start of the year, it is now being used by 1% more players. That might not seem like a very impressive stat, but the Superlight has been out for years now, and in a landscape that’s moving as quickly as the gaming mouse market, it’s extremely impressive to see a mouse not only maintain its usage numbers, but even gain users.
For a while, it looked as if would make a challenge for the crown with its renewed shape and top end internals but the ‘DAV3’, as it is affectionately called in enthusiasts circles, has stagnated. Having just under 10% of professional gamers using a certain mouse as their weapon of choice is of course extremely impressive, but given how meteoric the DAV3’s rise to the top charts was, one would be forgiven for having thought it would’ve gone a bit further than that.
In a quarter where the big brands were very silent as far as mouse releases go, it was perhaps to be expected that the mouse charts wouldn’t move all that much, but we do spot one very interesting newcomer: the ZOWIE EC2-CW. When the brand first announced that its iconic line of ergonomic mice would be their first product silo to go wireless there was some backlash in the community, calling the mice outdated based on the specs and weight. Pros do not seem to agree with this notion, however, as the EC2-CW is the fifth most used mouse in all of our analyzed games.
What’s interesting here is that pros seem to gravitate towards stability and familiarity (this goes for both the mice themselves as well as the brands) over going for the latest and greatest extremely light mouse housing all of the currently trending components. That’s not to say that those mice are bad: we’re seeing great, cutting edge mice being released nearly weekly and it’s amazing to see how many high quality options there are out there these days, but it does show that there’s perhaps a disconnect between what the pros want and what the active mouse community wants. If we’re going by the data, we can see that professionals don’t seem to care too much (yet?) about things like weight or polling rates, for example.
Most Used Mouse Brands
Most Used Mice
1281 analyzed players, using 136 different keyboards across 21 different brands
We predicted it three months ago, and it has happened: the 60HE has cracked the top 5. To someone who follows the keyboard scene a bit, that shouldn’t be a big surprise: it’s a keyboard made by enthusiasts that houses some extremely interesting customizable switches that allow you to set the actuation point so that you can fully adjust the board to your own playing style.
There are other boards that have this tech, but the Wooting also has a Rapid Trigger feature, which basically means that the key you’ve just pressed resets as soon as you start releasing it. This means that you don’t need to allow the switch to travel all the way to its starting position before you can use it again. This feature makes precise movements extremely easy to pull off, and it can actually give you advantages in games where precise movements are essential. All in all, the Wooting 60HE is a blend of enthusiast-level keyboard specs packed into an easily moddable package that houses the latest and greatest gaming keyboard technology.
Since Wooting basically only has one keyboard that’s relevant to the pro scene (so far) it’s not enough to land the brand a spot in the top 5, but given the fact that other manufacturers have remained stagnant over the past quarter, there might be an opportunity here for the Dutch brand. The fact that the Wooting 60 HE can only be ordered in a kind of group buy format (where you have to wait a couple of weeks until it arrives) is one drawback that might potentially keep its usage numbers down a bit, but it’s a very impressive effort from a relatively new brand.
Most Used Keyboard Brands
Most Used Keyboards
950 analyzed players, using 38 different GPUs across 8 different brands
There hasn’t been a ton of movement in the GPU market, and that might be because of the fact that (pro) gamers have been relatively reluctant to pick up the 40 series of GPUs. The RTX 4090 is the only card of the latest lineup to be featured in the top 10 (in 7th place) and while it is a fact that pro gamers usually aren’t very quick when it comes to changing out their GPUs, it is also true that the 40 series has been out for quite some time now.
This might tell us something about the strength of the 30 series, but it might also mean that GPUs have become so powerful that the last generation had more than enough power to fully take advantage of 1080p panels at competitive framerates. With the dawn of 1440p 360Hz monitors with competitive response times we might see a change, but for now 1080p remains the standard refresh rate in the competitive scene.
Most Used GPU Brands
Most Used GPUs
1236 analyzed players, using 104 different headsets across 24 different brands
With the release of the Logitech (which is the first headset to feature graphene drivers) and the Cloud III we’ve seen the biggest hitters in the headset space get an update, but those new releases came quite late in the quarter, meaning that we’re not seeing them represented in these charts.
It’ll be interesting to see when and if the absolutely ubiquitous Cloud II will get dethroned, but given how common and often recommend this headset was (and still is) it might be hard to dethrone such an iconic headset, even if the competition comes from within the same brand.
Further down the line, we see that the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro has claimed the third spot. This further strengthens a trend where professionals and competitive gamers aren’t focusing on features that might be conceived as gimmicks (such as RGB lighting and rumble packs) but rather on reliable, mid-high tier gaming headsets that are focused on competitive gaming. The fact that all three headsets that are currently at the top share roughly the same overall design principle (aimed at competitive gamers with a strong focus on comfort, build quality, and sound reproduction over looks and flashiness) is telling.
Most Used Headset Brands
Most Used Headsets
1295 analyzed players, using 109 different headsets across 38 different brands
In the mousepad scene, the move towards brands that are making specialized mousepads is continuing strongly. , a Japanese brand known for making extremely premium mousepads, has grown by 1% when compared to last quarter, and if this continues we’ll see them land a spot in the top 5 by next quarter. This is an extremely impressive feat for a brand that sells mousepads that are (comparatively) extremely expensive and often difficult to get a hold of, though it has to be said that Artisan has been making efforts to make their mousepads more commonly available.
Aside from the rise of Artisan, we see that the trend where pros are shying away from the traditional brands continues. We see a lot more niche mousepad brands pop up on our players pages, and while the big players of course also offer great products, it’s still interesting to see how the scene shifted towards very premium surfaces over the past year or so. As a whole, professional gamers seem to be trending more towards controlling surfaces and mousepads that have carefully thought out gliding patterns with a strong focus on stability. This might have something to do with the fact that mice in general are becoming lighter and mouse feet have steadily been getting better and better, but time will only tell if this move towards more controlling surfaces is here to stay.
Most Used Mousepad Brands
Most Used Mousepads
Some interesting developments can be noted in this quarterly report. Firstly, there is the rise of the ZOWIE XL2566K, indicating that ZOWIE is still very much on top when it comes to monitors.
Secondly, we note that the Logitech G Pro X Superlight, despite being a very old product by gaming mouse standards, is still gaining users. With such fierce competition in the gaming mouse scene, that’s extremely impressive, and we’re very curious to see what Logitech is going to be following up with when the GPX’s lifespan is over.
Further down in the mouse world, we see the ZOWIE EC2-CW making its way into the top 5. This is interesting because this was a release that received some harsh criticisms from the gaming mouse community, and while no product is perfect and there are some legitimate issues with the release (read all about the pros and cons in our ) it also highlights the fact that professional gamers are very loyal to the products that they know and love, and that pro gamers don’t seem to be all that interesting in chasing the latest trends in the gaming mouse space.
Finally, we see the Wooting 60 HE pop up as the keyboard of the year so far. It’s a keyboard that gets released in batches by a pretty small brand, but seeing it rise to the top so easily clearly outlines how there’s still space in the gaming peripherals scene for smaller players, as long as your product is innovative and finished to a high degree. The same can be seen in the mousepad scene with Artisan.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not these numbers will hold over the summer, so stay tuned for our next quarterly report to find out the latest trends in the professional gaming scene.