Ever since I started working in eSports I felt that the industry was very young and underdeveloped. The fanbase was massive but the organisations didn’t have the appropriate structure, nor the players the proper resources and tools to reach their maximum potential.
For two years I’ve experienced many of those issues myself. Many times I was able to overcome them or bypass them but other times I didn’t have the tools and resources to solve them. Those unsolvable problems led me to quit my job as Fnatic League of Legends head coach.
Truth to be said, my time in Fnatic was better than I could have dreamed of. I have incredible memories, met amazing people and learnt invaluable lessons about the industry and about myself. And those lessons and experiences made me understand that I won’t be able to solve many of the issues I faced as a coach. eSports organizations need a structural change that will take years, that’s why I’m not going to coach League any more.
During my 10 years of experience competing at the highest levels of Online Poker and League of Legends I’ve seen many players experience mental health issues such depression, anxiety or tilt and physical health issues such as back, neck contractures, migraines or carpal tunnel syndrome. It didn’t matter if the issues was mental or body related, they always had negative effects on sleep quality, energy levels, focus, motivation and self esteem. These issues always lead to professionals under performing and feeling miserable. The brain and the body are connected, you can’t perform at your maximum if you have issues in either. If one side falls short, sooner rather than later the other will fall too.
Slowly but surely organizations and players are realizing that it is not sustainable to be performing at the highest level while ignoring mental and physical health. Teams are hiring or working on a part time base with sport psychologists, physiotherapists, chefs, personal trainers and specialized doctors. That’s a clear sign that things are improving, but I feel there is another industry that is critical for gamers and it’s not evolving at the speed that is needed, the peripheral industry.
Our peripherals are our way of interacting with the computer. They are our tools to communicate with friends through the internet, to play for fun or compete professionally. In the age of communication where technology evolves exponentially some of the tools we use daily have barely evolved during the last decades.
This keyboard was commercialized 30 years ago, it’s the IBM Model M:
My gaming keyboard looks the same but it’s black, has LEDs and two windows keys next to the Alt keys. High chance yours is very similar too.
Every day, for many hours we are using a device that was designed over 30 years ago, for the tasks and habits of that time. And that device is based on the typewriter, that was created 200 years ago. This means that the keyboard we use daily has design limitations of a technology 200 years old. How crazy is that?
When a player has contractures on his back or something as severe as carpal tunnel syndrome on both wrists, is it because he just plays so much that the body can’t handle it? I think it’s a matter of the keyboard not being designed for today’s activities and the lack of easily accessible information about how to take care of our own health.
I want to tackle these issues. I want to create the best possible peripherals for gamers and help spreading the correct information so we can make better decisions regarding our performance and health. Something that in some cases will affect our professional careers but in every case will affect our overall happiness.
That’s why I’m attempting to create the best gaming keyboard. What I’m going to show you is just a prototype under development, but already it’s the best keyboard I’ve ever used. Let me present you the Shortcut: