Will A Gaming Keyboard Actually Make You A Better Gamer?

No, a gaming keyboard won’t automatically make you a better gamer regardless of how expensive the gaming keyboard is or what brand name is involved. 

There are lots of different factors that impact your skill and success as a gamer.

It’s not as simple as “Buy keyboard x and expect your K/D ratio to magically improve.”

Life just isn’t that simple.

My gaming background

I’ve been an avid computer gamer since the 1980s moving from home computers like the Sinclair Spectrum to the Commodore 64.

Then when the 90’s rolled around I invested in my first gaming PC –  that was exclusively to play X-wing on.

Doom arrived in my life shortly after and I was then addicted to FPS (First Person Shooter) games for the next 15 years or so, playing on dial-up until broadband arrived in my area in 2002.

It was during that time I accidentally learned how to touch type because I’d play Quake II online matches until 2 am and forget to turn the lights on.

So I know what it takes to be a good gamer with stupidly fast reaction times and an older guy who’s just happy not to have a 0-for-20 K/D ratio at the end of any match.

Factors that impact gaming performance

So let’s take a look at the kind of things that do make you a better (or worse) gamer.

Your age

Younger players have quicker reaction times, and by “younger” I mean players aged from their teen years to around 24.

24 – seriously?

Yup, research has shown that your reaction times begin to drop slowly from the age of 24 onward.

Does that mean you should stop playing computer games after you turn 24?


But just understand that the snazziest and most expensive gaming keyboard or mouse can never make up for the fact that you are now physically slower than you were at 24.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule for example – I have surprisingly “fast hands” for a guy of my age.

That still doesn’t make me any better at online games.

Internet connection speed

The average ping I see on game servers these days is around 40, with the odd person magically achieving a sub-20ms ping time.

Your connection speed has a direct correlation with your on-screen reaction times.

But no gaming keyboard can make up for a 200+ millisecond ping.

Player Skill

Some people are born with better hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and decision-making abilities than others.

I have no idea what the percentages are but I’d guess maybe 10% of the total population under the age of 30 have above-average scores in the above areas.

Now here’s some good news – you can actually improve your hand-eye coordination if you put effort into it.Here’s a study from the clever people at Harvard on that very subject:

Your 10,000 Hours

If you want to become a better game then the only legit way to do that is to put in the hours.

Am I suggesting that you spend 10,000 hours playing computer games?

Not at all, but I am telling you that the people who have spent 2 – 5 years playing, practicing, tweaking, and learning how to game online are going to be better than any novice who plays for an hour a week.

It comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers”, which somewhat mistakenly claims that you have to practice any given skill for 10,000 hours to master it.

These are the people who look like they’re cheating but genuinely are not.

So, if you want to become a truly excellent gamer then you need to be prepared to put the hours in. 

Not 10,000 of them.

But you’re also not going to gain a competitive advantage if you only get in some gaming practice for 2 hours once a month.

Game Genre

Performance can also vary depending on the specific game genre being played. 

First-person shooter (FPS) games require quick reflexes and precise aiming, whereas real-time strategy (RTS) games demand strategic thinking and decision-making. 

The same rule kind of applies to MMORPG games too – pure kinetic reaction time isn’t a factor with those games.

It’s more about planning and having all your bindings and macros set up well in advance – which is something a good gaming keyboard is excellent for.

System Specs

If your game of choice struggles to run on your current gaming rig, then that’s going to have an impact on your online gaming too.

I get it – gaming PCs aren’t cheap, but running a game with the bare minimum of requirements is going to cause you problems.

And there’s nothing a gaming keyboard can do to fix crappy system specs. 

In fact, you’d be better off spending $200 on upgrading your current PC than blowing it on a flashy keyboard. 

A gaming keyboard can improve the interaction between the player and the game, it is only one piece of the overall gaming setup.

How A Gaming Keyboard Might Improve Your Gameplay

Comfort and Ergonomics

A gaming keyboard is designed with comfort in mind.

Ergonomic features like wristrests, adjustable height, and key spacing can lead to reduced fatigue and strain during long gaming sessions, allowing you to focus more on your game.

Key Customization

This is a big one!

Many gaming keyboards come with software that allows you to remap keys, adjust lighting effects, and create macros/key bindings.

This level of customization can give you an advantage in games by allowing you to set up keybindings and shortcuts that offer that split-second advantage you’re missing out on.

Acceleration and Key Rollover

Gaming keyboards often feature key rollover and anti-ghosting technology

These are fancy ways of saying that a gaming keyboard won’t register a ton of false keyboard inputs if you accidentally mash the keyboard with your hand.

Mechanical switches

The vast majority of high-quality gaming keyboards use mechanical switches, typically Cherry MX varieties.

These switches allow you to customize your gaming experience down to how clicky your keys.

Opto-mechanical keyboards

These are a pretty recent innovation in the gaming keyboard scene. They’re exactly like a typical mechanical keyboard except for the “command” for a key to be depressed is relayed via a basic optical signal processor.

This means it operates at the speed of light, which is as they say, pretty darn fast.

This type of keyboard switch can again offer you that microsecond of additional response time that makes all the difference between victory and defeat in your game of choice.

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