Back in the day computer mice had a rubber ball at the bottom of them, this ball was used to track the mouse movement. Back then everyone used a mousepad as a trackball mouse would be a nightmare to use without one.
Most modern gaming mice use optical sensors. Optical sensors are pretty flexible when it comes to what surface you can use them on. Although if you’re doing something that requires precision, like playing fps games, then you may be asking yourself if you need a mousepad for PC gaming.
Mousepads can improve your gaming experience
Although a mouse can function reasonably well without a mousepad, it’s not ideal. A good mousepad is usually black, soft, and sturdy. They have to be thick enough to compensate for any bumps on the surface below. Professional Gaming mouse mats are designed to perform well with optical sensors as that’s what 99% of gaming mice use. Gaming mouse pads are dark and made of cloth material which is ideal for optical sensors. The soft cloth surface gives you slight friction when moving your mouse. I personally believe the surface tension gives more consistent mouse control, which is key to mastering your aim or movement.
The bottom of a good mousemat will be grippy so you don’t have to worry about it moving while you play. What a mousepad offers more than anything is consistency. Once you’re used to one it will feel like your mouse is gliding across it. When you’re playing an online game the last thing you want is out of game problems affecting your performance. A mousepad is a cheap tool that can solve a lot of problems.
Protection and comfort
Using your mouse without a mousepad over a long period of time can cause a lot of wear and tear, not only to your mouse but also to the surface below. A mouse can start to scratch or chip away at a surface when continuously used in the same spot. You could think of a mousepad as a coaster for your mouse. Mouse pads are often soft and made of cloth, this can act as a cushion for your wrists. This wrist support allows you to use your mouse for longer hours with less strain.
Using a mouse on a hard or uneven surface is not good for the feet of the mouse. When you damage the bottom of a mouse it can lose its accuracy and its glide. high-end gaming mice are expensive so investing in a mousepad could be worth the cost.
If you watch a lot of FPS games you may have seen people using extremely large mouse pads. Professional FPS players almost exclusively play with low sensitivity. Low sensitivity helps with the insanely precise mouse movements that are required to play high-level FPS games. When playing with a low sensitivity you’ll be moving your mouse a lot further than usual, and you’re going to need enough room to do so. The bigger mouse movements you’re making the higher chances of the surface your playing on having inconsistencies. An appropriately sized mousepad is crucial for low sensitivity players.
How expensive is a good mousepad?
For how long they last, mousepads are pretty cheap. How much you’ll end up spending depends on the brand and the size of the mouse mat. A standard sized cloth mousepad can be as cheap as $7 online. If you go for a known gaming brand then you’ll be looking at around $10-15 for the standard size. Large mousepads, on the other hand, can be as high as $30, although keep in mind they are almost 3 times longer than the regular size.
I wouldn’t worry about choosing a “bad” mousepad, as long as you buy one from a trusted brand you’ll be fine. I personally use the SteelSeries QcK medium-sized mousepad, it’s around $10 online and comes in a few sizes. I’ve used this pad for over 2 years now and even after a few spills it’s in great condition. Using a mousepad may not be as noticeable as upgrading to a low lag monitor, but they are definitely worth the price.
If you’re a PC gamer and enjoy taking games seriously then I don’t see any reason not to use a mousepad!