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Gaming mouse pioneer Robert Krakoff, Razer co-founder, dies at 81

Gaming mouse pioneer Robert Krakoff, Razer co-founder, dies at 81
2 May, 2022
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Robert ‘Razerguy’ Krakoff, the co-founder of iconic gaming accessories company Razer, passed away last week at the age of 81. Known as one of the most affable founders in the technology space, Krakoff was popular for being the face that took Razer to the masses. The brand, which lives on today as a much bigger company than what it was about two decades ago, is now a far more recognizable name than most niche gaming accessories brands.

Razer started off as the trademarked brand name of a Canadian company, Karna. The latter reportedly built a rolling wheel gaming mouse with an encoded sensor that gave the mouse super high movement precision of 2,000 dpi. Krakoff is known to have been a part of the team that built the Razer Boomslang for Karna back in 1999. However, he is not the person who invented the world’s first gaming mouse – according to historical reports, this was done by a third party agency called Fitch.

Nevertheless, Krakoff is often credited with being the one who created the Boomslang, the world’s first gaming mouse. The latter was significantly larger than typical rolling wheel mouse pointers back in 1999. It also had a neutral design that suited left-handers as well, massive mouse buttons for more surface area when gaming, and a semi-transparent body design that was quite a standout feature for its time.

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The real standout, though, was its price. Back when it was launched, the Boomslang cost $100, which was more than 10x the price of the average mouse that came bundled with PCs.

In 2001, Karna went bankrupt, following which Krakoff, along with his partner and present chief executive, Min-Liang Tan, officially turned Razer into a brand in 2005. The company has since established itself as one of the biggest gaming accessories brands that today makes keyboards, mice, audio products and even a pretty mean laptop, today.

Through his time, Krakoff is said to have influenced the company in creating left-handed mice for gamers, being a left-handed user himself. Reports also cite him as being unexpectedly open about the company’s marketing strategies – admitting to The Verge back in 2009 that its $130 gaming mouse was actually a way for the company to draw public eyeballs to its more affordable range of products.

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Outside of Razer, Krakoff was also known for being a fitness enthusiast, and an author. With his wife, he founded MindFX Science, a brand that makes non-caffeinated energy drinks. He is also an author, having penned over a dozen sci-fi and non-fiction books under the name, ‘R.M. Krakoff’.