Logitech G has launched its $130 pro mechanical gaming keyboard, a product specifically designed for eSports players and hardcore gamers with strategic input by pro gamers from League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). Like many hardware and accessories companies, Logitech G sponsors multiple eSports teams, including Cloud9 and Team SoloMid.

“Logitech has a huge commitment to eSports,” Mark Starrett, product manager for gaming keyboards at Logitech G, told [a]listdaily. “We see our team sponsorships as valuable from a visibility standpoint, but also as an important tool for us to develop product. These teams have their own practice room here at our office to do boot camps and we work with them when they’re here.”

Starrett said Logitech G has done heat mapping and measured the forces as players used prototypes of its latest pro gaming mouse, which launched late last year.

“We work with pro gamers as an integral part of the development of these products,” Starrett explained. “We want them to play to win in competition. We focus hard on these products. The pro mouse was a big success; it’s super light and has great sensors. We focused on the next part of the problem with this keyboard.”

That problem is that in competition, pro gamers competing in PC games like League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 get three feet of space to play. That doesn’t give players much room to move around the mouse with a full-sized keyboard.

“When we talked to Cloud9 and Team SoloMid, they asked us to create a pro gaming keyboard,” Starrett said.

Andy “Smoothie” Ta of Cloud9 said the keyboard is a vital instrument to winning competitions. “You should feel like it’s a natural extension when you’re playing,” he added.

Starrett said pro gamers are typically on the road for 150 days a year, which led to several elements of the new keyboard. In addition to being smaller, the keyboard also has a detachable Micro-USB connector.

Vincent “Biofrost” Wang of Team SoloMid said pros are on the move a lot, so a having a removable cord makes it easier to pack.

“These keyboards get tossed into bags and see a lot of wear and tear,” Starrett said. “The keyboard is reinforced with a steel back plate, adding stability and rigidity for gameplay.” With a short-throw actuation point of 1.5 mm, the keyboard’s Romer-G switches register key presses up to 25 percent faster than standard mechanical switches and are designed for performance.

“If you’re playing CS:GO you’re two ticks behind when you do something on a different keyboard; two frames go by and your competitor before your button press registers with the on-screen action,” Starrett said. “Our engineering team worked on this to provide a much faster response time.”

“That fraction of a second could end up being the difference between winning or losing the game,” Ta said.

Peter “ptr” Gurney of Team NRG said since he started playing CS:GO three years ago he’s used the same gear. When he picked up the new Logitech G keyboard, he could feel the difference in response time.

Cloud9 used the new keyboard at DreamHack Vegas this year. “This is a great keyboard because it’s small, durable, and tenkeyless,” said Jake “Stewie2K” Yip of Cloud9. “This allows me to have more space on my table. The Romer-G switches are nice and quiet, and they’re super comfortable to type on.”

Using optional Logitech Gaming Software (LGS), players can select and personalize each individual key light from more than 16.8 million colors, and save a lighting pattern to onboard memory so it’s available for use in competition.

“When these guys play, they plug into any PC that’s there,” Starrett said. “They like to represent their team or use their country colors and save these patterns to internal memory and then have that run on stage.”

They keyboard also has a “Game Mode” button at the top, which shuts off Windows keys so players don’t accidentally drop out of play. Players can also use Logitech’s software to lock out keys.

Of course, all of these elements that help the pros perform better when money is on the line, also will enable PC gamers improve their own game—whether they’re playing for fun or aspire to make a career in gaming one day.