Mechanical Keyboard Trends

Hello fellow keyboard enthusiasts,

I am quite new into this space, I have yet to know more about all the different switches, caps, and different builds. However, besides all that, I really believe that this industry has incredibly high potential. Yet I have a feeling this niche has a tough barrier of entry. Even though we know have things like hot swap keyboards that make it a bit easier for people to build their own custom keyboards, it can still be quite expensive for the average keyboard user. What do you guys think? Will mechanical keyboards be in more spotlights then just “gaming” communities. Since most of you have been in this community for a really long time, I wanted to know how you guys might see the way this trend will progress. Thanks.

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The mech board community does seem to break down into sets whose interests are specific to their needs. My personal desire is for a nice conventional 60% or TKL with firm, tactile switches and high profile keycaps because I’m most interested in writing.

On the other hand, if you scratch a 40% ortho lover, you’re invariably going to get a programmer, IT dude or dudette.

There’s plenty of overlap, but there’s a plate at the table for everyone, and if there isn’t (somehow) this community is really adept at serving it up. The choices can be overwhelming for a newcomer, but that will settle out within a year or so as he or she discovers their preferences.

Realistically, anyone can input whatever they want with the cheapest, shittiest ten dollar keyboard out there, this hobby is meant to zero in on exactly what you want from all the possibilities, to put together the board that’s just right for you, your interests and your work.

FWIW, I’m pretty much done buying and building. I’ve found my happy place and am content. I just wish I could go to a meetup and see my friends again. This social distancing stuff really sucks.

As an IT dude, me and most of my colleagues prefer arrow keys. Sure, local editors can be modified to effectivly use non-arrow keyed keebs, but TKLs rules the roost as we often access systems that depend on arrows, Outliers like me prefer 65%.

Can’t speak for programmers as most that I have dealt with prefer to work from home (even before COVID) or aren’t even local.

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LOL! This is the problem with gross generalities. Nonetheless, looking at all the folks I have met who go for ortho 40 boards, I stand by my observation. Not every programmer wants or likes an ortho 40, but everyone I can think of who uses an ortho 40 is a programmer or does IT related work.

I’m probably going to have to do a poll at the next meetup, if we ever get to leave the house.

I was working in Velocifire mechanical keyboard from 2016, and created entergogo several months ago. I really love the typing experience when I use a mech keyboard the first, I’m not a gamer, but use it for daily work, in my view, it will be more and more popular in the future, there is a big potential in this niche market.

Not sure if anyone really has that much overview to be in all the communities where people care about their input devices.

At least for my circle of friends and acquaintances, most of the mechanical keyboard fans are either programmers or sysadmins or students (and those usually study either computer science or another science or engineering subject).

I also know a (console) gamer who doesn’t care that much about keyboard switches or key caps and prefers a gamepad for gaming (and uses a Sun keyboard at work). There’s though one friend who’s a (PC) gamer and does have a mechanical keyboard (but IIRC a stock one, either DasKeyboard or Razer or Corsair or so).

Regarding myself, I don’t consider myself to be a gamer¹ but a (Unix) sysadmin with programmer tendencies; hence doing a lot on the command-line. (X11 is primarily a terminal multiplexer for me. :wink:) Together with a friend I also wrote a book and occasionally write articles in Linux-related IT magazines, so I also write longer texts.

I found the mechanical keyboard scene, because one of the local meetups took place at the hackerspace of the local chapter of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC; of which I’m a member).

So from my point of view, for quite a while mechanical keyboards have moved along from just being a thing in the gamer scene, especially if you also look at the overlap with the vintage computer/keyboard scene.

Actually my gut feeling is that the mechanical keyboard scene rather hates mechanical keyboard brands which are specifically gamer-targeted, especially Razer. Not sure about how much this also counts for Corsair or DasKeyboard. Ducky seems to be well accepted, though. At least over at r/MK, a Razer keyboard seldom gets much upvotes.

Which again tells me that the mechanical keyboard scene doesn’t want to be mixed up with the gamer scene, and the people in the mechanical keyboard scene don’t want to be seen as gamers.

Footnote:
¹) except occasional point and click adventure (for which I prefer thumb-controlled trackballs) and maybe then and when old FPS games like Doom and Duke Nuke'm 3D on vintage hardware. :-D

Personally when it comes to “groups of people” and mechanical keyboards, I feel like it would be fair to say a majority of the community comes from one of two places. Gaming or Coding.
Either it’s a gamer who knows about mechanical keyboards and wants to learn more before suddenly seeing themselves in this rabbit hole of custom keyboards, keysets, layouts, and etc,
or
a programmer who types all day and wants to improve their own typing experience by researching into mechanical keyboards and falls into this rabbit hole of custom keyboards, keysets, layouts, and etc.

And then there are the minority of us like myself. I game, but I didn’t discover keyboards from gaming nor did I ever enter the keyboard with one of the common gaming keyboards a la corsair, razer, or logitech.

Within the community of very active people in the custom mechanical keyboard scene, I tend to find much more people who are actually programmers and software devs/engineers (what is the difference between a software dev and software engineer anyhow? just a fancier title?). Gaming is something people do, but I think it’s much less of an identifier as someone’s profession like being a dev.

In fact, I find most gaming communities put off by the enthusiast portion of mechanical keyboards because for many it’s hard to fathom why we might spend $120 for doubleshot keycaps made in germany compared to a $20 set they can pick up on amazon (or never even considering picking up custom keycaps for their keyboard).

On the other hand, I know a lot of software people who enjoy the finer things in life like Herman Miller chairs and can push that enjoyment of the details in life to something like keyboards.

As an FYI, my perspective is from someone who is pretty deep into this rabbit hole.

Yeah that is true, I totally forgot about the programming communities. There can also be casual keyboard enthusiasts in general. Although many keyboard enthusiasts dislike the quality of keyboards coming out of those major brands. It is tough because they are so commercial. Either way, if gamers enjoy their keyboards from Razer or Corsair, it will only bring more interest toward that general community. I believe, in time, more people will start to care about the keyboards they use in the future.

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