OpTic Gaming has entered into a new marketing partnership with Turtle Beach to use its Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset, Elite Pro Tactical Audio Controller (T.A.C.), and Elite Pro accessories in eSports competitions, during daily practice sessions, and activities. The team, which previously worked with Astro Gaming, is already using the new Elite Pro in competitions. OpTic Gaming just won the Call of Duty eSports World Convention tournament in Paris on May 8.

This deal is the latest for OpTic Gaming, which is also working with PepsiCo Brisk Mate iced tea and Turtle Wax. The team also has a new paperback book, OpTic Gaming: The Making of eSports Champions, out May 17 from HarperCollins Publishers.

Hector Rodriguez, owner and CEO of OpTic Gaming, explains why a headset partnership is so important for eSports and how the new book will help all of these new sponsors.

Why did you decide to work with Turtle Beach?

As our previous headset sponsorship was coming to an end, we decided to try the other headsets in the marketplace. We bought some, used some headsets that were sent to us as gifts, etc. Then, at MLG New Orleans, a Turtle Beach rep approached me and said, “We have something new that hasn’t hit the shelves that we’d like to show you.” I said “Please do,” and a few weeks later a team from Turtle Beach visited the Scuf House (our team house) and showed us the Elite Pro. We had a full day to try out the Elite Pro and review the headset. And the consensus was a huge “Yes” from everyone at the house, including me. I told our agency (rEvXP) that we like the Elite Pro and that we wanted to partner with Turtle Beach.

How have you and your team been involved in the development process of Elite Pro Headset, T.A.C. and other accessories?

As of right now, we’ve pretty much just been giving feedback on the likes and things we think can be implemented to enhance the style of the headset. The unit itself is awesome, and the technology used is amazing from an audio and comfort standpoint. We’re really happy with the Elite Pro.

What separates these products from anything else you’ve used, from a technology standpoint?

We use, and have always used, the best headset in the marketplace. The Elite Pro, from a noise-cancelling perspective, is incredible. The comms are clear, and it does a good job of only picking up the voices coming out of your teammates and drowns out the noise of the crowd. Pair that with the cooling gelish feel of the Elite Pro’s ear cups and you aren’t sweating, while still benefiting from the enclosed noise-cancelling feel it gives us.

Can you explain the role sound plays at a professional level for games such as Call of Duty, Halo, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive when making split-second decisions?

Audio is the difference between winning and losing an in-game battle. Being able to hear everything in the game—from a bomb being planted to a weapon manifesting in the middle of the map, to the running footsteps of an enemy rushing around the corner—really gives you the advantage. Add that with the fact that you can distinctively identify your teammates’ call-outs because the noise of the crowd is drowned out, great audio gives you the competitive advantage that you want to have on your side when the game is on the line, and I’m speaking from a pro perspective. But casual players often take games very seriously, and these certainly help.

How much time do your teams spend practicing on a daily basis and how does this impact the accessories they use and wear day in and day out?

My team is a good example of why the Elite Pro is awesome. The COD and Halo guys spend hours in front of their desks with their headsets on while they practice. To top off the hours of scrims they do on a daily basis, you tack on 3 to 4 more hours of content creation and you have a good 12-hour day where you are wearing the headset. For us, the comfort is as important as the quality of the sound. Nothing sucks more than a heavy, sweaty headset in the final hours of your work day.

What similarities are there between the bats and gloves pro baseball players and the headphones, keyboards, and mice/controllers pro gamers use in competition?

The similarity lies in the importance of the quality of the tools you use to get your work done (whether in sports or eSports) that give you a level of comfort in a high-quality product. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing you can trust and rely on the weapon that will help you win the game. The last thing you need is an unreliable tool in a high-stress-level situation. Your focus should be on winning the game, not if you’re going to be at a disadvantage due to faulty tools.

How will OpTic Gaming work with Turtle Beach through this partnership, and how long is the deal for?

We don’t publicly discuss the terms of our contracts. That said, Turtle Beach has been great so far in making sure this is a partnership and not simply a sponsorship. They are looking for us to provide further insight on the Elite Pro, future products, etc.

How do you plan to integrate these products into your videos, social media, and other original content?

The content we create is very lifestyle oriented. Gaming is our life, competing is our pastime, and creating content is our creative outlet. All these things involve audio. If we’re listening to music on the way to the airport, on the plane, making gameplay videos or editing them, the headset is at the top of the things needed in order to perform the tasks. The headsets are attached to us for the majority of the day, so we won’t have to force ourselves to wear them in order to promote them in videos, they’ll just organically appear in the content.

What opportunities do you see the new HarperCollins book (and the national book tour) playing for OpTic to cross-promote these headsets, as well as other recent partnerships with PepsiCo and Turtle Wax?

Having opportunities like the national book tour allows us to speak in front of a broad range of media outlets, and lets us speak about who we are as OpTic—what our lives look like from the inside, etc. This involves our sponsors. The question will be raised about eSports and its movement, its growth, and the direct correlation that endemic and non-endemic brands/sponsors have in eSports’ growth and future.

Have you already noticed any differences in the way your teams are performing with the Elite Pro compared to other gear in the past?

We just came back from Paris, France where we competed in the ESWC [eSports World Convention]. We placed first, and in doing so, became back-to-back champions. This was the first event where we performed using the Elite Pro, and the players were happy with the quality of the audio and how comfortable they were. I’ll have more to report as we continue to navigate through this year’s future tournaments, but so far so good.

How have you seen products OpTic Gaming endorses or uses impact sales of these products to gamers in the past?

It’s a bit too early to call for the Elite Pro headset, T.A.C. and other accessories aren’t available at retail yet, but nevertheless, the products we endorse definitely have an impact on fans and consumers. For headsets, we were with our prior sponsor for a long time, and now that we’ve partnered with Turtle Beach for the Elite Pro, there are certainly those out there who are quick to criticize our move to the Elite Pro without having seen, touched, or used it themselves. But I’ll tell you right now, if the Elite Pro wasn’t the right headset for us, we wouldn’t have jumped on board. And I think that over time, as we continue to use the headset and show fans how great of a product it really is, our endorsement of the Elite Pro will certainly have some level of influence over the audience of gamers who become interested in getting one for themselves.