Robert Krakoff, co-founder and former president at Razer gaming hardware company, has died at the age 81. You may not have heard Krakoff’s name before, but it is possible that you were influenced by his vast legacy. In 1999, Krakoff created the Razer Boomslang, the first gaming mouse. It was not only the foundation for Razer’s massive gaming mouse range, but it also arguably sparked the entire gaming peripherals industry. Below, Krakoff can be seen in an advertisement promoting the Razer Boomslang mouse, along with Johnathan “Fatal1ty”, a professional gamer who signed a historic sponsorship agreement with Razer in 2002.
Origin stories can be complicated. Razer’s story is no exception. Razer was not actually a company until 2005. It was the trademarked name of Karna, who had invented an optomechanical encoding wheel that could track mouse movements at 2000 dpi. This was far more than any other mouse at the time. (Yes, the first gaming mouse was rolled on wheels, even as optical mice were becoming more common.
In 2001, Karna was bankrupt. Krakoff cofounded Razer with Min-Liang Tan, the current CEO. However, neither man invented the gaming mouse. This case study (pdf), details how Fitch, a marketing agency, created Razer’s entire brand including the name, the three-headed snake logo and packaging, as well as the design and engineering for the Boomslang mouse.
This is not to be disputed: Razer’s initial press release stated that the Boomslang was “designed and developed by Fitch, Inc. for Karna.”
Razerzone.com in 1999.Screenshot via Internet Archive
It also mentions a “Robert Krakoff,” general manager for Razer — who would not just become the public face for the company’s first decade and change but also make an incredible impression as one the most accessible public faces you could ever have the pleasure of knowing.
Every Razer product purchased would come with a message from Razerguy. His public email address was not just for show, but also for your personal use. He was known for responding to fans and sitting down with scrappy journalists, even those who didn’t have a lot of followers. Sometimes he would give them jobs. His Facebook page states that he studied journalism at UCLA, but that he did so on an athletic scholarship.
What a man RIP #razerguy. A true gentleman! This man was the original gaming GOAT. This man is the original gaming GOAT. Every gamer owes something to him. pic.twitter.com/WGDkwRNzZH– Darren Roberts (@d4zzlar) April 28, 2022
He was also very candid. In 2009, he said to Sean, a similar unknown journalist, that the company didn’t need to sell one unit of its brand-new Razer Mamba wireless mice at its exorbitant $130 price. He explained that the point was to incite a large audience of gamers with the innovative mouse, knowing that they would choose Razer merchandise and mice at a lower price.
He was a well-known leftie and told me that he wished Razer could make left-handed mice, but that he did not have the power to do so as the president of the company. The board had decided it didn’t make financial sense. One year later, I was happy to see Razer’s first left-handed gaming mouse. It was a mirror-image of its best-selling DeathAdder.
Although Krakoff was still a “President Emeritus” of the company for many years, Razer wasn’t his final act. MindFX Science is a brand that sells energy drinks and supplements. It serves as a healthier alternative to highly caffeinated energy drinks, pre-workout products, and other energy drinks.
Krakoff seemed to have made fitness an important part his life. In the 1960s, he played five years for the Los Angeles Rams. Krakoff, who grew up in Los Angeles, said that he enjoyed playing tennis, biking and fitness training. Dr. Patsi Krakoff was his wife and he also ran a blog about nutrition and fitness tips for seniors. He also co-authored a book on the secrets to staying young.
He was also known as RM Krakoff and he had a successful literary career — he wrote a dozen books since 2009. Krakoff stated that he was a copywriter and that he put his pen where his mouth was. The ink tasted like shit. He tried his hand at fiction and nonfiction writing. He wrote everything from sci-fi fantasies to black comedy. His description of America Unbound, Fighting Demons In A Vanished Democracy is… a lot.
Krakoff posted on his Facebook page that he would split his time between Jalisco Mexico and Peoria Arizona because he loved being a sunbird and spending six month a year in each house. He is survived by his two children, Scott, and Robin, as well as five “very cool,” grandchildren. Scott provided the cover art for many of his novels.
Razer’s Twitter account posted a statement saying that they are saddened to hear of the passing Robert Krakoff, Co-Founder and President Emeritus. “Robert’s unwavering drive for gaming continues to inspire us all.
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Robert Krakoff, Co-Founder and President Emeritus. Everyone knows him as RazerGuy. Robert Krakoff’s unwavering passion for gaming and drive lives on. We are saddened to hear that he has passed away. pic.twitter.com/2HKNcFaOj2– R ? Z? R (@Razer) April 28, 2022