Fabio | 20. October 2021

Do You Really Need a Gaming Mouse? | Guide

On the topic of computer mice, most people just buy whatever’s on offer right now. As a gamer, however, you need to invest a lot more time into this, as the quality of a gaming mouse can have serious impacts on your performance!

In MOBAs and strategy games, for instance, you’ll have to pull off hundreds of clicks per minute if you want to stand a chance. In shooters, you’ll have to achieve pixel-perfect accuracy in order to succeed.

So when you’re in the market for new hardware, it’s sensible to take a closer look at esports and gaming mice. Is there really any difference between the standard mice that every company ever features in their offices, and the $100 pieces from Zowie, Razer, and whatnot? And is the difference really so big as to justify the added price? To answer this question, we’ll deal with the most important characteristics of computer mice in general.

A gaming mouse is often better suited for specific games than a regular office mouse (via Unsplash)

A gaming mouse is often better suited for specific games than a regular office mouse (via Unsplash)

The defining features of an esports mouse

Before you continue reading – we’ve also done the same thing for esports keyboards!

So what makes a computer mouse good? For one, there’s the sensor, which scans movements on the mouse pad and translates them into movements on screen. There are lots of differences in quality there, but that’s a topic for individual expert reviews.

Just a few years ago, mice used to have balls at the bottom. These things rolled across the surface and determined how the mouse was moving. Back then, that was enough, even for esports. Nowadays, we put our trust in optical sensors. But where exactly is the difference between esports/gaming sensors and the traditional, cheap-o mice?

The DPI measurement is a huge driving factor. It’s the acronym for “dots per inch”, which describes how many increments per inch the mouse can detect. At least on paper, ‘the more, the better’ holds true.

The DPI doesn’t actually matter that much

3kliksphilip has done a great video on this topic. If you’re not playing with 100 DPI or 20000, the value is pretty much insignificant. In-game settings let you fine-tune the exact cursor speed you’ll have in the end. Virtually every esports and gaming mouse that’s currently on the market will have enough DPI to register precise and fluid movements. But you should be careful with regular mice.

The polling rate determines how many updates your mouse sends to the computer per second. 125 Hz is pretty much the standard you can expect from a traditional mouse. This might sound like much, but if you’re playing shooters with, let’s say, 300 FPS, the movement only updates roughly every three frames!

That’s why gaming mice feature 250, 500, or even 1000 Hz. We don’t know if 1000 are really necessary, but it’s not like they’ll do harm!

The layout of your esports mouse can be a deciding factor

MOBAs and Real-Time-Strategy games like StarCraft will put a lot of stress on your mouse buttons. Just like a good keyboard, you need switches that click easily, have a decent pressure point, and can sustain millions of strokes. At 400 clicks per minute, you can easily achieve 12000 clicks an hour!

Then there’s the extra features. If you buy a $10 office mouse from Microsoft, you get just that – a mouse with two buttons and a scroll wheel. This might be enough for a lot of people, but what if you play MMO games?

For that special purpose, there are esports and gaming mice that feature additional buttons. They’re carefully designed to be just in the right spot for certain tasks. Even FPS gamers can benefit from extra keys, for instance, to bind some grenade throws.

Then there are mice with removable weights, so that you can adjust the overall weight to your liking. We don’t know if that’s really necessary. Most gaming mice we found on the internet don’t have that – and the pros play with them just fine.

Nowadays, you can even go wireless

The last question for you is: Wired or wireless? Up until a few years ago, gamers were sure of one thing – the gaming mouse has to be cabled up, otherwise the reaction time will be screwed up. But a lot has changed in recent years. Now, we’re seeing pro players use wireless mice at huge events. And if they can still get their headshots in with wireless mice, you can surely do that too!

And sure, there are things like touchpads or trackball mice, but we’re ignoring those for the purposes of esports. Even though there are a few pros who can aim better with a trackball than other do with proper gaming mice…

So just like with our esports keyboards, we arrive at the same conclusion: Eports and gaming mice are really just a little better. Many additional features are carefully designed for the specific purposes of games and for esports demands. But still, there’s a lot of marketing bullshit floating around. You won’t become an eports pro just because your mouse has 1000 Hz!