Esports Pros Apparently Replace Their Mice Every Six Months

Image: Kotaku / Alex Walker

Gaming mice aren't typically the kind of product you'd think of as a consumable, something that gets replaced with the same regularity as, say, your mousepad. But according to the managing director of one major peripheral distributor, the top teams cycle out their gear every six months.

Martin Moelle is the managing director for BenQ in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea. That means while he oversees some of BenQ's less fancier products, like digital whiteboards and projectors for classrooms, he also oversees the company's Zowie gaming brand.

Having started back in 2008 with the assistance of former Counter-Strike professionals SpawN and HeatoN, Zowie is now one of the more familiar brands among esports. Their mice are pretty known for being hassle-free, with no third party software, minimalist styling and generally as few frills as possible.

But while it's easier to focus on build quality when you're not dealing with driver and software updates, that doesn't mean pros hold onto your mice any longer. According to Moelle, the teams that Zowie works with internationally - which includes "the top 20 or so in the world" in Counter-Strike, Overwatch and other games - tend to replace their mice every six months.

"We find out that in especially FPS games, like CS:GO, you have these long sweeping actions. And the long sweeping action obviously creates wear and tear, and the two places of most wear and tear are on the mousepad itself and the mouse feet," Moelle explained.

The mouse feet internally are referred to as "skates", a reference to the original Hyperglide teflon mouse feet that became popular among esports circles in the early '00s. Image: Kotaku / Alex Walker

"Once they get familiar with a mouse, it's something that they like to stick to then. If it's the mousepad or the mouse itself, once the skates wear down then - I can't - but they can feel this difference between the height."

That could be a minute change to how the mouse sits, or the smoothness of how the mouse glides across a surface. But even though all Zowie mice ship with a spare set of mouse feet - or multiple sets, as in the case of the newer EC1-B and EC2-B mice, pros don't tend to use them: they just replace the mouse entirely.

"For them, at their level, once the mousepad or the skates themselves wear down or change in consistency, then it affects their performance," Moelle said.

"So it is possible the skates, and some people do do that, but at that professional level it's just simpler, better, more consistent to get a brand new mouse or brand new mousepad to get to the origin or the starting point for them when they start to use the product. And that's the reason, or background, for them wanting to change it on a consistent level."

I asked whether Moelle thought rival brands - think Razer, Logitech, ROCCAT and so on - would see the same behaviour amongst their sponsored players. And while he can't speak on behalf of other companies, he said it would be surprising if other manufacturers didn't have a similar amount of mice turnover.

"If they're dealing with serious esports teams and players, it has to be consistent. Once you get to that level ... you get this, these players come into a zone and slight changes in anything, they really feel it straight away. And they know when something has been affected. And it's gotta be consistent across everybody, no matter what country, what team it is."


Comments

    I'm still using a mouse from about 15 years ago. I paid something like $80 for it so I want to get my money's worth.

      Mine was a freebie that (I think) I got with Witcher 2. Definitely got my moneys worth there :)

      Best 'gaming' mouse I've ever owned by a shitty 400 DPI, 250hz mouse that came with my ASUS laptop.

      I could snipe with the pistol in BF2 with that thing. No other mouse since has come close.

    I'm genuinely surprised that it's as long as every 6 months. I don't know why but I always assumed they would replace them quite frequently.

    Similar to darren above, I'm still using my Logitech MX518 (it's the mouse that looks like it's covered in dents) from the mid 00's. I feel like I should replace it soon, since I've lost all but one of the smooth rubber things on the underside, and a lot of the paint is wearing off, but it still works!

      One of the all-time greats. Intellimouse 3.0, 1.1a and the MX510/518 are classics.

        I bought the OG intellimouse optical when it launched; the white one which preceded the famous silver explorer.

        It DESTROYED at CS, at a time when everyone else was using ball mice.

        Can you imagine using a ball mouse for fps these days?! Remember mouse momentum?

        I still haven't graduated to a laser mouse...

        Just looked mine up, MX510. Suppose I was building a new machine at just the right time. The thing still works great and I use it at work now.

      Same here man. I bought an MX510 in around 2003 and it was fine up until around 2010 when the left click wouldn't stay clicked so I did the only logical thing and got whatever the current version of the 510 was, which is the G400 (looks the same but grey) and it still works today. I love it.

      Some of my mates seem to go through razor mice and turtle beach headsets every year but my G400 and Logitech H390 headset from 2003 are still kicking.

    I hope they're selling or donating them, not just throwing them out.

      I agree with you but I also sometimes wish we didn't have to police everything for human conduct violations in the comments section.

      You can always see it coming these days, some omission of detail that could be interpreted negatively.. bam, there in the comments.

      ..Perhaps that's why there are so many reconditioned wireless playstation headsets on ebay. After a while, the clamping force changes, subtly shifting the sound profile to such a degree that players begin to make mistakes in twitch shots :-)

        I don't have the power to police any kind of reselling, charity or recycling program for these strangers. I'm simply making a comment that that's what I hope they're doing. I find it odd that you'd go out of your way to lament about a comment being made in the comments section.

    Arent all Esports pros sponsored by peripheral companies, and would get new peripherals for free? I would replace my mouse every six months if I could get a hardware company to sponsor me too

      i don't know if it works the same for gaming pros, but most music equipment sponsorships are for %cost reduction rather than straight up free, unless you're talking Eric Clapton or someone equally famous.

        Difference being that music equipment runs into the thousands, while a good gaming mouse is a couple of hundred or so. If they're going through 4 mice a year, that's only around $1000 MAX in sponsorship which isn't a big amount.

        Most likely far less than that. Those Zowie's run at $100 or so, so its trivial for a company the size of LG to just gift them as sponsorship, along with mousemats.

          Gaming companies give their stuff out to anybody with a bit of profile.

          Doesn't really take a huge amount of followers before they start giving stuff to streamers.

          Fact is, a $100 mouse isn't $100.. it's probably about $10 to the manufacturer (maybe less).

            Yup. I was just looking at retail prices. Was more just pointing out (and you reinforce what I was saying) that the cost is trivial to these companies

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