The Best eSports Technology

Creating an engaging and high-production eSports tournament can be extremely challenging; event managers juggle an extraordinary number of video and audio sources that are on show on several displays around the arena.

The typical tournament features five-on-five and requires a minimum of twenty video sources. Each gamer will have a front facing camera aimed at them, plus a live feed from their console. There will typically also be video coverage in the commentator box, of fans in the audience, wide shots of the venue and additional shots on stage with the players.

Accommodating so many potential inputs can be a delicate challenge and requires a reliable switcher, along with a router and server.

One of the most crucial elements of any properly-functioning eSports tournament is the latest display technology. To view multiple players efficiently, gaming centres must be equipped with display technology that features the industry’s best picture quality.

Tickets to these tournaments can cost upwards of £100; viewers won’t be impressed with unreliable technology that cuts out mid-tournament.

A lot of the technology used in the eSports industry is already used in other environments. For example, a school’s computer lab is a simplistic version of a ‘pro-gamer training facility’. The most similar set up to a gaming centre can be found in a control room. Both environments require image uniformity, displays must be able to show live content at the most minute details.

LED Signage

Large-scale indoor LED displays often feature a unique customisable design perfect for gaming centres of any size or shape and ensure optimal and uninterrupted picture quality. Samsung has led the way with The Wall and the IF Series which deliver unmatched, crystal-clear picture.

Signage in the eSport arenas must feature high-brightness to display a clear picture to every one viewing. Although most gaming centres are normally low-lit there will still be ambient light that may reduce the quality of signage with low brightness.

The finale of the G-League 2018 tournament saw a four-sided LED display installed into the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. With 18,000 viewers in the arena not wanting to miss anything on-screen, it was imperative everyone could see everything. This was the largest ever four-sided LED display to be used in an eSports tournament, each side measured 16m×9m, and it was installed 20m above the floor.

“Such a four-sided high definition LED display system is able to provide clearer and closer views of the battles and game operations for each and every audience wherever they sit,” said Allen Ye, the Absen project manager at the competition venue. “The competition was broadcast live on the screen, as well as on the internet, and the high level of contrast ratio and refresh rate ensures excellent visual performance even on cameras.”

Have a look at this 130" all-in-One LED Display from Samsung and Peerless. It really can be this simple!

Videowalls

Alongside LED signage, gaming centres benefit greatly from videowalls. Extreme narrow bezels allow for content to be upscaled on large displays, without losing parts of the game between screens. Videowalls boast immersive, uninterrupted viewing with brilliant picture quality. Recent advanced have also seen a wider adoption of curved videowalls, this is ideal for creating a comfortable viewing experience for everyone in the arena.

4K Monitors

The monitors used in eSports tournaments need to be the best of the best. With millions of pounds on the line, there is no room for lagging or screen tearing.

When choosing which monitors to use in a gaming centre, there are six main things to consider: Resolution, Refresh Rates, Adaptive Syncs, Panel Technology, Response Time and Screen Size.

The top specifications for resolution is 4096x2160, also known as UHD/4K – pro gamers are likely to be used to playing on this resolution in their training facility and wouldn’t accept anything less in the arena. The fastest refresh rate is 240 Hertz, this monitors how many times the monitor can refresh the displayed image per second.

These monitors also power the majority of the content displays on large displays and videowalls around the arena. As the resolution of the large format screens cannot exceed the resolution of the monitors driving them, the higher the resolution of the monitors used, the clearer the image will be on the large format displays.

An ever-ongoing debate exists, arguing which is the ultimate gaming monitor, this fundamentally comes down to personal preference. Some gamers prefer their rig, to include a wide screen display or ultra-wide screen monitor. These monitors are more immersive, however are not allowed in most eSports tournaments as they give players a competitive edge.

Popular Ultra-wide screen monitors to create the ultimate gaming rig include:

29WL500 34WL850 49WL95C

The standard monitor for eSports tournaments is a 24”, 240 Hz monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Every eSports arena needs to be kitted out with a complete suite of professional gaming monitors, competitors are not allowed to bring their own. Each monitor will be the same to create a level playing ground and they will be of the highest calibre.

Switchers.

Whether it is to power an online battle, a small venue tournament or in a full-scale gaming centre, a reliable and capable switcher is a necessity to any eSports event. The switcher brings the event together by controlling all the source inputs and outputs, the most efficient switchers often feature a user-friendly dashboard that makes switching between shots easier.

One breakthrough product for the eSports market is the Blackmagic ATEM Constellation. What sets this product apart is that it offers a superlative 4K multi-viewer and is future-ready for 8K video.

Cables

Another highly important aspect any eSports tournament is ensuring your cables are reliable enough to carry the audio and video signals. Paul from Kramer said this about the importance of installing quality cables.

“Your installation is only as good as the cabling you use to support the hardware whether that be patch cabling or infrastructure cabling.  Think of the analogy of buying an expensive sports car and then putting remoulded tires on it! 

High quality cable manufacturers design their cables with great care to ensure only the purest copper is used and enhanced shielding to guard against external interference.  Sure, a cheaper cable may cost you less on the initial install but in the long run will cost you more in support visits as their shortcomings become apparent.”

There is no one cable that fits every arena application. For example, you may need a more heavy-duty cable with a ruggedized or heavy-duty sheath for on application, however, another application may need a slimmer more flexible cable as space is limited.

Pro Broadcast

eSports tournaments require a variety of broadcast equipment. Front-facing cameras recording the gamers reactions need to be small and discreet as to not distract or obstruct their monitor. Wide-angle lenses are often the favourite for these front-facing cameras, as they can sit very close up.

Like any professional sports, some gamers have millions of fans, that support them and come out to eSports tournaments to watch them play live. They expect screens to display high definition content and be able to see gamers’ reactions throughout the game.

There is also a need for full-studio cameras in the arena, like the Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast. These cameras help achieve professional style shots in the commentary box, wide shots of the stage and of the audience.

The arena’s IT network is another critical component in an eSports tournament. This will interconnect powerful gaming stations and myriad devices, minimising latency, and ensuring a smooth spectator experience.

Reseller and integrators with a Midwich trade account can find out more about eSports technology we offer by contacting their account manager or requesting a call back.