The generic keyboard that comes with a PC is fine for casual tasks like emails and essays. But consumers will need a more advanced solution if they’re serious about gaming.
Competitive players on teams like Evil Geniuses don’t use Dell or Lenovo keyboards to win. They rely on gaming keyboards designed for top-notch performance and durability, even after extensive use.
This article will dive into eight gaming keyboard trends ranging from the best to niche-specific uses.
Why are gaming keyboards popular in 2023/24?
What makes a gaming keyboard so special? Is it the flashy lights and futuristic looks? While these features grab attention, they don’t necessarily enhance gaming skills.
However, gaming keyboards are popular for the features that truly enhance the user’s daily gaming experience, like switches, build, key rollover, and key customization.
Experts value the global gaming keyboard market at US$ 1.45 billion in 2022. On top of this, they expect an increase to US$ 2.18 billion by 2028 at a 7.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Eight gaming keyboard trends for hardcore gamers
Mechanical keyboards sit at the top of the gaming keyboard market. They’re the most popular options for PC gaming, sitting at 368000 monthly searches on average (based on Google Ads data).
Manufacturers engineer mechanical gaming keyboards with distinct key switches. This means each key can offer varying resistance levels and feedback, enhancing the overall gaming experience for users.
Although many consumers use mechanical keyboards outside gaming (especially typists), the market primarily targets gamers. They provide the best responsive and tactile feedback that prioritizes the hard-pressing habits of avid gamers.
Conversely, the mechanical keyboard’s switches are easy to press and release quickly, which offers a competitive advantage in fast-paced games prioritizing quick reflexes.
In addition, mechanical gaming keyboards are incredibly durable. They can handle intense gaming sessions since the keys have lower chances of wearing out over time.
Another thing worth mentioning is the keyboard’s low rollover rates, meaning gamers are less likely to press the wrong keys—even when they press multiple keys simultaneously. This helps increase accuracy, especially in FPS (first-person shooter) games.
Despite mechanical keyboards’ widespread popularity, membrane keyboards maintain a significant presence in the market. It’s evident that membrane keyboards remain readily accessible, indicating continued demand for these input devices.
According to Google Ads, searches for membrane keyboards have increased by around 20% in the last six months, reaching 27100 from 22200. The second keyword, “membrane keys,” exhibits similar performance, growing by around 30% from 18100 to 27100 in the last two months.
Membrane keyboards employ a single rubber membrane beneath their keys, each featuring a raised dome. When users press a key, it contacts the elevated dome, which makes contact with the circuit board and registers a keystroke.
Since no springs exist, all keys produce relatively soft and uniform tactile feedback. Additionally, most rubber membranes used in these keyboards share similar characteristics, meaning the feedback across all such keyboards is consistent.
Nevertheless, most general membrane keyboards will give a sub-optimal gaming performance for 3D games. However, dedicated membrane gaming keyboards bypass this drawback using springs to replicate the mechanical keyboard feedback.
Hybrid gaming keyboards
Like every other hybrid, these gaming keyboards fuse membrane and mechanical components, boasting an impressive lifespan of 20 million keystrokes. They utilize membrane-style buttons for key actuation while seamlessly integrating mechanical undertones to deliver the signature sound, tactile feedback, and responsive touch.
Hybrid switches closely resemble fully mechanical ones, utilizing similar spring mechanisms to offer resistance when pressing a key. However, the similarities end in their signal processing method. These keyboards incorporate a membrane technique, transmitting signals when the pressed key contacts the circuit board.
Another impressive advantage of hybrid gaming keyboards is their smoothness and durability. Their performance is satisfactory enough to provide a premium gaming experience.
Gamers who love keyboard aesthetics will appreciate the hybrid keyboard’s customizability. It has taller keys that look visually striking when decorated with RGB. These keyboards simply stand out in a way that membrane variants can’t match.
Unfortunately, hybrid keyboards are not as popular as their mechanical and membrane predecessors, but they still capture significant interest with two keywords: hybrid keyboards and hybrid mechanical keyboards.
According to Google Ads, “hybrid keyboard” has a higher search volume than “hybrid mechanical keyboards.” While the former has 480 monthly searches, the latter retains 210.
Wireless gaming keyboards
Many argue that anything wireless is terrible for gaming—but that’s only the case when talking about Bluetooth. The technology is infamous for its terrible lag and response times, pushing gamers toward wired devices. However, this section is about wireless gaming keyboards—and yes, there’s a difference!
These gaming keyboards typically employ RF wireless technology and a USB dongle, as opposed to the more common Bluetooth connection seen in modern “standard” wireless keyboards.
This choice gives manufacturers a more dependable and direct connection, featuring a higher polling rate. As a result, the communication between the keyboard and the PC refreshes much faster, effectively reducing input lag.
Consumers can still find Bluetooth functionalities in some advanced models. They may even offer extra features like connecting to multiple devices using a single USB dongle.
Wireless keyboards are finally shedding some negative press, and the following data proves it. According to Google Ads, these gaming keyboards command a whooping 201000 monthly average searches.
Flexible keyboards are a technological miracle. Bendable devices have been gaining attention as more portable and space-efficient options—and gaming keyboards are not exempted.
These keyboards employ the same standard connections as traditional keyboards. The key distinction lies in their ability to fold or roll up without damage. However, how manufacturers integrate all the necessary circuitry into these silicone keyboards remains a mystery.
Flexible keyboards can be a convenient choice for gaming, particularly if consumers often move around with their gaming setup or if they game on a laptop. Moreover, it’s essential to note that flexi keyboards won’t achieve the same gaming experience as standard or mechanical keyboards.
Google Ads data reveals that flexible keyboards receive an average of 4,400 monthly searches. The related keyword “roll up keyboard” performs slightly lower but still garners 1,900 searches on average.
While ergonomic keyboards can benefit individuals with disabilities, it’s important to clarify that they are not exclusively designed for that purpose.
These keyboards have designs that enhance comfort and reduce strain during extended gaming sessions, catering to a wider audience beyond those with specific disabilities.
Ergonomic keyboards are designed with various purposes in mind, and one of their primary objectives is to assist individuals with medical conditions. These conditions can range from carpal tunnel syndrome to general wrist discomfort, among others.
Exploring every possible ergonomic keyboard shape would be impossible due to their sheer variety. However, consumers having specific issues with their arms, wrists, or hands can rest assured that there’s an ergonomic keyboard design tailored to their particular needs.
Ergonomic keyboards enjoy significant popularity, as evidenced by Google Ads reporting an impressive average of 74,000 monthly searches.
Gaming console keyboards
Many game developers consider enabling gamers to use a mouse and keyboard when playing on consoles. In truth, this functionality is already available in several popular titles like COD, Warframe, Minecraft, Fortnite, and many others.
But, many console gamers don’t have the space required for a traditional keyboard and mouse setup. So, they can opt for specialized keyboards designed for console users. These keyboards are always compact, with some manufacturers dividing them into thirds or halves to suit the available space.
These keyboards retain only the essential components, ensuring the presence of critical keys like WASD. Its configuration also includes all the buttons required for tasks or in-game interactions.
The gaming console keyboard market primarily splits into two segments: Xbox gamers and PlayStation enthusiasts. Interestingly, “Xbox keyboards” exhibit slightly stronger performance than “PS5 keyboards,” indicating their higher popularity among users.
Regarding search volume, “Xbox keyboards” generates 5,400 searches monthly, while “PS5 keyboards” receives 3,600 inquiries.
Whether consumers are gamers or need something for the office, a good keyboard is all they need to unleash their maximum potential. While gaming enthusiasts will benefit most from mechanical keyboards, those with budget constraints can still achieve satisfactory results with hybrid options.
Flexible and ergonomic keyboards excel in specific scenarios, offering tailored solutions. On the other hand, wireless and membrane keyboards, while not top-tier, are reliable enough to fulfill their intended functions.
All in all, 2023 marks the crux of the gaming era, and businesses can leverage these gaming keyboards to avoid missing out on sales and profit.