Robert Krakoff, Razer co-founder and inventor of the gaming mouse, passes away


Robert “Razerguy” Krakoff, co-founder and former chairman of gaming hardware company Razer, passed away last week at the age of 81. You may have never heard the name Krakoff, but you may have been shocked at the distance from him. reaching the legacy.

In 1999, Krakoff was behind the first gaming mouse: razer boomslang. Not only was it the foundation for Razer’s now-massive line of gaming mice, it arguably propelled the entire gaming peripheral industry. Below, you can see Krakoff himself in an ad promoting the Razer Boomslang mouse in 2002, alongside pro gamer Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, who signed a historic endorsement deal with Razer long before the word “esports” entered the fray. in the lexicon.

Origin stories can be complicated, and Razer’s story is more complicated than most. Razer wasn’t actually a business until 2005, it was the trademark of an entity called karma, who had invented an optomechanical encoder wheel that could track a mouse’s movements at 2000 dpi, a much higher resolution than other mice at the time. (Yes, the first gaming mouse roll it up wheelseven though optical mice were becoming a thing.)

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

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

Razerzone.com in 1999.
Screenshot via internet archive

But he also cites a “Robert Krakoff, general manager of Razer,” who would not only become the public face of the company during its first decade and change, but also make an incredible impression as one of the most accessible public faces in Razer. a company. he might have the pleasure of knowing.

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

He was also remarkably candid: In 2009, he told me, Sean, a similarly unknown journalist, that the company didn’t really need to sell a single unit of its new Razer Mamba wireless mouse at its then-extortionate price of $130. The goal, he said, was to inspire a large audience of gamers with innovation, knowing that they would choose other cheaper Razer mice and products.

A well-known lefty, he also told me that he wished Razer could make a left-handed mouse, but that he didn’t have the power as the company’s president to make it happen; apparently the board had decided it didn’t make financial sense. A year later, I smiled when I saw the launch of Razer the first left-handed gaming mousea mirror version of his best-selling DeathAdder.

While Krakoff still advised the company for years as “president emeritus,” Razer was by no means his last act. he also founded Science MindFXa 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 a big part of Krakoff’s life. The played for the Los Angeles Rams for five years in the 1960s. As he grew older, Krakoff said he loved playing tennis, riding his bike, and working out. He and his wife, Dr. Patsi Krakoff, even ran a blog focused on fitness and nutrition tips for seniors, and co-wrote a book on the secrets to stay young.

But under the name of RM Krakoffhe also had a literary career of his own: he wrote a dozen books since 2009. After working as a copywriter, krakoff said he “put his proverbial pen where his mouth was (the ink tasted like shit).” He dabbled in both fiction and nonfiction writing, writing everything from black comedies for science fiction fantasies. Your description of America Unbound: Battling Demons in a Defunct Democracy it is… a lot.

On Krakoff’s Facebook page, said he would split his time between Jalisco, Mexico, and Peoria, Arizona, as he enjoyed being “a sunbird and spending six months of the year in each home.” He leaves behind two sons, Scott and Robin, and five “really cool” grandchildren. Scott contributed the cover to most of his novels.

“We are saddened by the passing of co-founder and Chairman Emeritus, Robert Krakoff, known to all as RazerGuy,” a Razer statement read. On twitter. “Robert’s unwavering drive and passion for gaming lives on and continues to inspire us all.”


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