Quality hardware is always going to make a huge difference

While the idea of people playing video games with a chance of winning million-dollar sums of prize money may have once seemed like madness, eSports have seen huge growth in recent years to the point where the concept is being considered for inclusion in the Olympics.

The financial aspect of its growth is truly staggering, with research from intelligence body Newzoo suggesting that revenues generated by the eSports industry could reach an enormous $1.5 billion by 2020. Brand investment is expected to be central to this, with plenty of evidence of major companies being drawn to eSports partnerships and sponsorships due to the potentially lucrative opportunities that it offers.

A natural fit

According to research organisation Nielsen, the top 10 brand categories that it tracks in terms of eSports tournament sponsorship include areas as diverse as fast food and energy drinks. However, alongside the less obvious categories, there are also those with natural links to this world – computing and technology brands.

Such companies are getting involved in eSports in a number of ways. For example, Asus has recently invested $16 million to set up an eSports company in China, while others like Intel have clear visible links through the backing of major events like the Intel Extreme Masters – which was started in 2006 and is thought to be the longest-running professional gaming tour in the world.

Of course, a more obvious way to get involved is through providing teams with their equipment. While a player’s skills can be fundamental to their success in eSports, having access to quality hardware is always going to make a huge difference too. Teams and competitors want the very best in order to have a competitive advantage, with equipment being responsive and good enough to be able to meet their needs. This is of course why our very own reviews of kit like the Tt eSports NEMESIS Switch or gaming monitors from the likes of AOC are so detailed. But just how do teams go about sourcing quality kit for their competitions?

A range of ways

One of eSports’ biggest teams, Fnatic have players involved in a range of games. The organisation is arguably best known for its record in League of Legends though, with Betway Esports predicting that the team will be one of the favourites for this year’s EU LCS Spring Split, at 5/2 for the victory as of February 1. The side has a rather novel approach to accessing quality hardware – they make it themselves.

The company acquired Swedish company Func in 2015 in order to develop their own line of equipment for both their players and the wider public. According to their League of Legends player Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson, the move has been highly beneficial as it has allowed him to have a say on customised features he likes and create equipment suited to his own individual gameplay, rather than having to adapt his style to meet other products.


While simply creating bespoke gear may be nice if you can do it, other eSports teams generally have to take a different approach through partnerships. For example, Razer may have just brought out a new phone but the company is probably best known in eSports for its three-year affiliation with League of Legends side SK Telecom T1. Towards the end of last year, the company launched the team’s preferred mouse and mat combination – the Razer DeathAdder Elite and the Razer Goliathus – to the general public. The equipment comes with the approval of Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-Hyeok, who is regarded by many as one of the best League of Legends players in history.

For public consumption?

So, while this equipment has been made and approved by the brightest stars in eSports, is the technology really something that non-professionals should be looking to invest in? The question is obviously not a straightforward one to answer but if you’re an amateur looking to develop your skills for a shot at going pro, then investing in quality kit may be a useful idea. Alternatively, if you’re simply a massive eSports fan with a bit of spare cash who wants to experience gaming like the pros and emulate your heroes, then why not?

Technology has played a huge role in driving eSports forward and with the future looking so bright, it will be truly fascinating to see how the equipment used by the stars – and then released to the public – develops in the years to come.

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