In a world that’s as fast-moving as the world of PC gaming gear, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Every single week, new gear gets announced, and it’s easy to get stuck in an everlasting loop of buying the newest piece of kit to enhance your gameplay. Truly revolutionary and game-changing products are rare, though, and there’s no place where that’s more evident than the professional gaming world.
Professional gamers obviously value performance over anything else, so in order to get them to change gear you’ll need an impressive product. Therefore, it’s quite interesting to see at what the pros are using. In this article (which is the first article in a series that we’ll publish quarterly) we’ll go over the gear that the best of the best are using, and talk about the trends that we’re seeing.
Obviously, sponsorships will influence these numbers somewhat. How hard they’re influenced depends on the game, team, sponsored brands, and even the peripheral type. If you want to learn more about sponsorships in esports you can always read our article on it, but going by our data, the days of brands forcing teams/player to use certain pieces of gear are becoming a thing of the past. In certain product categories like mice, it’s a practice that’s almost non-existent.
With that said: of course these lists should be taken with a grain of salt. In this article, we’re merely commenting on the trends that we see. This doesn’t mean that a product that doesn’t make the list isn’t worth considering, and it also doesn’t mean that getting the exact peripheral setup that the pros are using is going to make you a gaming God.
The increase/decrease percentages are based on our internal data at the end of Q4 of 2022.
1245 analyzed players, using 60 different monitors across 15 different brands
When it comes to gaming monitors, ZOWIE reigns supreme. A staggering 69% of analyzed pros are using a ZOWIE monitor to compete with. These numbers are extremely impressive, and what’s even more impressive is that ZOWIE is maintaining these figures.
This isn’t just a flash in the pan where a bunch of pros are trying out a hot, new product before going back to their trusty old gear: ZOWIE monitors have been on top for months and months, and even though their market share has topped out at 70% at the end of last year (which means a 1% decrease for this quarter) they had been solidly rising for many months to the point where ZOWIE is basically the brand for gaming monitors in the professional gaming scene.
ZOWIE has their XL2546 line to thank for this, with the XL2546K and the XL2546 combined accounting for ~50% of ZOWIE users. What’s also interesting is that the XL2566K (ZOWIE’s newest release; a 360Hz 1080p TN panel) has already taken the third place as the most used monitor.
In second place we see AlienWare, accounting for a solid 10%, followed by ASUS ROG, HP OMEN, and ASUS. AlienWare has their popular AW2518H and AW2521H monitors to thank for this second spot, while the PG258QN and PG258Q by ASUS ROG are also part of the ‘usual suspects’ when people discuss gaming monitors.
The monitor scene is absolutely dominated by ZOWIE, and that position has only been solidified due to the fact that the brand is now offering a 360Hz monitor, so it’ll take a big effort from other brands to dethrone ZOWIE in the monitor space.
Most Used Monitor Brands
ASUS ROG (–)
HP OMEN (+1%)
Most Used Monitors
ZOWIE XL2546K (-2%)
ZOWIE XL2546 (-3%)
ZOWIE XL2566K (+5%)
ZOWIE XL2540 (-1%)
ALIENWARE AW2518H (–)
1326 analyzed players, using 153 different mice across 23 different brands
Those who follow the professional gaming scene will no doubt know about Logitech’s G Pro X Superlight. This successor to the already wildly popular G Pro Wireless has managed to exceed the already staggering numbers that its predecessor put up, and the mouse is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. This is an impressive feat given the Superlight’s age: it’s an older mouse at this point in time, and this shows in certain aspects such as the Micro USB (instead of USB-C) charging port.
Other companies have put out mice that are, on a technical level, perhaps more impressive, but the Superlight nails all of the basics in such a way that it’s still easily beating contenders even years after its release. This perhaps goes to show how features such as shape and reliability are of great importance to professional gamers, but it also certainly highlights just how far ahead of the curve Logitech’s flagship gaming mouse was back when it first released.
Razer’s Deathadder V3 Pro looked to be challenging for the crown after its release, putting up very impressive numbers that managed to land it a spot as the second most used mouse across all of our analyzed games, but the DAV3’s growth has plateaued, making it extremely unlikely to take over as the most used mouse in the foreseeable future.
Elsewhere, we see that the G Pro Wireless, despite being succeeded by the G Pro X Superlight and being a mouse that’s very old (in terms of computer gear, at least) is still holding strong in third place. This could serve as further evidence that Logitech has quite simply nailed the basics with their flagship gaming mice.
VAXEE’s first wireless release has also managed to impress: the XE Wireless climbs to 4th, and even though ‘only’ 3% of our analyzed professionals are using it at the time of writing this article it’s a very impressive release for a brand that’s still rather new and certainly more in the ‘niche’ category.
As far as brand market share goes, there has been little movement at the top, but we do see an interesting development a little further down the line. VAXEE’s well-received wireless release has given them enough of a boost to overtake Finalmouse as the fourth most used mouse brand across all of our analyzed games: an impressive overtake. Whether the brand can hold on to this position remains to be seen of course, but with wireless models of their other popular mice (the NP-01 and OUTSET AX) on the horizon, the future is looking bright for them.
Most Used Mouse Brands
Most Used Mice
Logitech G Pro X Superlight (-1%)
Razer Deathadder V3 Pro (–)
Logitech G Pro Wireless (-1%)
VAXEE XE Wireless (+3%)
Razer Viper Ultimate (–)
1237 analyzed players, using 131 different keyboards across 36 different brands
The keyboard market has historically been one with little movement, at least when it comes to professional gamers, but we do see one newcomer pushing up the ranks. Dutch brand Wooting’s 60 HE keyboard has seemingly broken free from the Fortnite scene (Wooting’s earlier boards used to be particularly popular in Fortnite while gaining little to no traction outside of it) and has gone mainstream. Even though it’s not in the top 5 of the most used keyboards as of the time of writing this article, it is extremely close, and if it continues on this trajectory we fully expect it to be breaking into the top 5 by the end of next quarter.
As for the other boards, Logitech’s G Pro X board still reigns supreme, followed by SteelSeries’ Apex Pro TKL and the older version of the G Pro keyboard.
What’s interesting here is that TKL boards have fully taken over. Just a year or three ago, full sized boards were very much the norm, but nowadays most professionals are opting to use a TKL (or even smaller) keyboard.
With keyboards being a ‘slower’ scene compared to the mouse scene, we see pretty much no movement between brands when comparing last quarter to this quarter. Wooting has gone up some percentage points thanks to the popularity of their 60 HE keyboard, but it’s not enough to surpass the higher percentages of other brands that fall just outside of the top 5: Xtrfy and Ducky.
Most Used Keyboard Brands
Most Used Keyboards
Logitech G Pro X (–)
SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (-1%)
Logitech G Pro (-1%)
Razer Huntsman V2 TKL (–)
HyperX Alloy FPS (-1%)
931 analyzed players, using 40 different GPUs across 8 different brands
GPUs are always rather slow to be updated in the setup of a professional player, and it takes quite some months after the release of a new line of graphics cards until we start to see those new cards appear in the ‘most used’ lists. This is also the case with the ADA line of graphics cards. Despite these newer cards being out for a while now, we’re still seeing 20 and 30 series cards making the top 5. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is still by far the most used graphics card in professional gaming.
Something that’s quite well-known, but rather interesting to note in our first every quarterly report regardless, is that NVIDIA absolutely dominates when it comes to GPUs. An impressive 98% of professional gamers are using a card based on NVIDIA’s technology at the time of writing. This number has remained pretty much constant since the start of ProSettings.net.
Most Used GPU Brands
Most Used GPUs
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (-1%)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (–)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (-1%)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 (-1%)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (-1%)
1202 analyzed players, using 101 different headsets across 24 different brands
With no big headset releases over the past couple of months, we’re not seeing a lot of movement in the headset space. HyperX’s Cloud II continues its absolute dominance of the gaming headset space, a position it has never once vacated since the start of ProSettings.net back in 2016.
It has to be said that Logitech’s G Pro X line of headsets is the first line of products to really threaten the Cloud II’s position as the number one most used headset in gaming, and given the fact that the Cloud II (and HyperX as a headset brand) is on a (slight) decline over the past few months we might see it surpassed in the near future, if the G Pro X headsets can hold on to their market share.
HyperX still comfortably holds the first place as the most used gaming headset brand, however, and with competitors not really moving up when compared to last quarter, this isn’t exactly something that we predict will change in the near future. Still, the (slight) downward trend that HyperX has been on has been happening for a couple of months now, so we might be looking at the beginning of some drastic changes in the world of gaming headsets.
Another noteworthy trend in the gaming audio space is that we’re seeing more and more streamers and professionals moving towards (or at least supplementing their regular headset/headphones with) in-ears (IEMs) for their gaming audio. This is a trend that has been very prevalent in PUBG (where the Bose QuietComfort has always placed highly in the top 5) but has now been moving to other games as well. It’s not enough to move needles in any noticeable way, but brands might do well to look towards offering some quality IEMs as an additional option for gamers.
Most Used Headset Brands
Most Used Headsets
HyperX Cloud II (-1%)
Logitech G Pro X (-2%)
Logitech G Pro X Wireless (+1%)
HyperX Cloud Alpha (-1%)
Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (+1%)
1257 analyzed players, using 112 different headsets across 36 different brands
When compared to last quarter, there hasn’t been a lot of movement in the mousepad scene, but since this is the first quarterly gear report that we’re publicly writing we do want to highlight a trend that has been happening prior to the latest quarter: niche/specialized mousepads have been on the rise.
This is illustrated most clearly by looking at Artisan, the Japanese manufacturer of (ultra) premium mousepads. While this used to be a brand that popped up here and there it’s now the sixth most used mousepad brand in the professional scene, ahead of brands such as HyperX and Corsair. That’s not enough to land it in the top 5, but it is extremely impressive for such a niche brand that sells mousepads that cost as much as a mid-tier wireless gaming mouse. We’re also seeing pads such the Lethal Gaming Gear Pro line (which is made to compete with Artisan pads) gaining popularity, further evidencing this trend.
As a whole, it seems like the (pro) gaming community is becoming more aware of the fact that mousepads can have a big influence on performance: there’s a massive difference between a speed pad and a control pad, but even between mousepads in the same category can vary greatly when it comes to their overall performance.
With mousepads, the race for the first place as the most used manufacturer is tighter than it is in some other markets. ZOWIE is in the lead (and has been for quite some time) but that lead is shrinking.
Most Used Mousepad Brands
Most Used Mousepads
Logitech G640 (-1%)
SteelSeries QcK Heavy (-1%)
ZOWIE G-SR-SE (-1%)
VAXEE PA (+2%)
ZOWIE G-SR (-1%)
The first quarter of a new year is historically a period where there’s little movement in the gear department of the professional gaming scene. Players have just come back from the holidays, tournaments are getting started again, and there generally are also fewer gear releases in this period. As such, we’ve used this first quarterly report to kind of establish how the stage is set as opposed to going deep on any changes.
Of course this doesn’t have to mean that there haven’t been any interesting developments. The move of the professional gaming scene towards specialized, ‘niche’ pads is a very interesting trend to follow, and it’s also very engaging to see how some of the ‘usual suspects’ are so ingrained in the pro scene that it’s nearly impossible to imagine them ever losing their spot. It gets even more interesting when one of those classics does lose its spot. What drives the change? Is it a successor or something new and revolutionary from a different brand? Thanks to this new series we’ll hopefully give you some insights into these trends over the coming months and years.