Razer co-founder and gaming mouse pioneer Robert Krakoff has died

Robert “Razerguy” Krakoff, the co-founder and former president of gaming hardware company Razer, died last week at the age of 81. legacy.

In 1999, Krakoff was behind the very first gaming mouse: the Razer Boomslang. Not only was it the foundation of Razer’s now massive line of gaming mice, it arguably kickstarted the entire gaming peripheral industry. Below, you can see Krakoff himself in a advertisement promoting the Razer Boomslang mouse in 2002 – alongside professional gamer Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, who signed a landmark sponsorship deal with Razer long before the word “esports” entered the lexicon.

Origin stories can be convoluted, and Razer’s history is more convoluted than most. Razer wasn’t really a the society until 2005 – it was the trademark of an entity called Karna, which had invented an opto-mechanical encoder wheel capable of tracking mouse movements at 2000 dpi, a resolution far superior to that of other mice of the time. (Yes, the first gaming mouse rolled over wheelseven if optical mice became a thing.)

Kärna went bankrupt in 2001and Krakoff co-founded Razer the company with current CEO Min-Liang Tan in 2005, but neither man invented the gaming mouse: This case study (pdf) details how a marketing agency named Fitch created all the Razer brandincluding the name, the iconic three-headed serpent logo, website, packaging and, most importantly, the design and engineering of the Boomslang mouse itself.

None of this is disputed: Razer’s first press release says the Boomslang was “designed by Fitch, Inc. for kärna”.

Razerzone.com in 1999.

Screenshot via Internet Archive

But he also cites a “Robert Krakoff, Chief Executive Officer of Razer” – who would not only become the public face of the company for its first decade and change, but would make an incredible impression as one of the most accessible public faces. from a company. could ever have the pleasure of knowing.

You would have a little message from Razerguy with every Razer product you purchased, and his public email address wasn’t just for show. He was known for responding to fans and sit down for interviews with rambling reporters who barely had a following. Occasionally he would give them work. According to his Facebook page, he himself studied journalism at UCLA, although he did so on a football scholarship.

He was also remarkably candid: in 2009, he told me, to Sean, an equally unknown reporter, that the company didn’t actually need to sell a single unit of its brand new Razer Mamba Wireless Mouse at the price then extortionate $130. . The goal, he said, was to inspire a broad audience of gamers with the innovation, knowing they would choose other, less expensive mice and merchandise from Razer.

A known left-hander, he also told me that he wanted Razer to be able to make a left-handed mouse, but he didn’t have the power as president of the company to make it happen – the board had apparently decided it didn’t make financial sense. A year later, I smiled when I saw the release of Razer the first left-handed gaming mousea mirror version of his best-selling DeathAdder.

While Krakoff still advised the company for years as “Chairman Emeritus,” Razer wasn’t his last act by far. He also founded ScienceMindFXa brand that focuses on selling energy drinks and supplements, serving as “a healthy alternative to high-caffeine energy drinks and pre-workout products”.

Fitness seemed to be an important part of Krakoff’s life. He played for the Los Angeles Rams for five years in the 1960s. As he got older, Krakoff said he enjoyed playing tennis, riding his bike, and working out. He and his wife, Dr. Patsi Krakoff, even ran a blog focused on fitness and nutrition advice for seniors, and co-authored a book on secrets to staying young.

But under the name of RM Krakoffhe also had a literary career of his own — writing a dozen books since 2009. After working as an editor, Krakoff said he “put his proverbial pen where his mouth was (the ink tasted like shit).” He dabbled in both fiction and non-fiction writing, writing everything from black comedies for sci-fi fantasies. His description of America Unbound: Fighting Demons in a Vanished Democracy is… a lot.

On Krakoff Facebook page, he said he would split his time between Jalisco, Mexico and Peoria, Arizona because he loved being “a sunbird and spending six months a year in each house.” He leaves behind two children, Scott and Robin, and five “very cool” grandchildren. Scott contributed cover art to most of her novels.

“We are saddened by the passing of Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Robert Krakoff, known to all as RazerGuy,” read a statement from Razer. on Twitter. “Robert’s unwavering drive and passion for the game lives on and continues to inspire us all.”

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