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Razer Interview: Robert Krakoff

We recently got a chance to put some questions to Robert Krakoff, A.K.A 'RazerGuy', who is the founder of Razer Ltd. Responsible for some of the best mice we've ever seen, Razer has been a massive name in gaming peripherals ever since they first released the Boomslang, the worlds first 1000 DPI mouse.

Since then Razer has pushed forwards and released a whole range of new products. Teaming up with professional gamers such as Meng 'Rocketboy' Yang, the number one in Doom 3, has allowed Razer to become massive in the professional gaming circuit and recent expansions with products such as the Razer Pro|type has pushed them into new emerging markets.

But, with many people fearing that PC gaming is being left behind due to the rapid growth in consoles, has Razer reached a plateau and, if so, is there a way off it?

We put the question to Robert 'RazerGuy' Krakoff to see what he thinks about the world of PC gaming and how professional gaming has changed over the years.

Bit: Why did you move into gaming peripherals and what was it that you thought you could bring to the market at that time?

Robert: In 1998 we carefully surveyed the gaming market expressly for mice and noted that while other hardware, notably video graphic and audio cards were being upgraded specifically by gamers, mice hadn’t changed from an engineering standpoint since the first “mouse” was developed some 35 years before.

Bit: What do you think the most single important aspect of a gaming set-up is?

Robert: Many gamers will claim video graphics processors or even your online connection, but from a standpoint of providing a distinct edge to improve your game the mouse is singularly the most vital weapon in your arsenal.

Razer Interview: Robert Krakoff Introducing Robert Krakoff
The Razer Copperhead mouse is still the favourite of more than half the bit-tech.net team.

Bit: Razer has been making games peripherals for a number of years. How has the market changed in that time and what do you think the future holds for Razer and peripherals at large?

Robert: Certainly the console market boom has been the most dramatic evolution to gaming over the past ten years. The development of the online console community is a big step towards enticing hardcore PC gamers to be tempted to switch.

For the PC the biggest news has come from the MMOG and strategy game developers over the last few years. Games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars have brought millions of new gamers over to the PC, many of whom are female and belonging to the older generations. I’m sure that the console makers have taken notice of this trend.

Bit: With a lot of gamers moving away from PC gaming and towards consoles, do you have any plans to develop console peripherals?

Robert: The PC business has never been stronger or more vital. The way I see it, there is a very high percentage of crossover gamers who own both a PC and one or more consoles. The real question here is how much time they spend on each.

What you have to define is the game genre they play on each and whether they play the game socially, with a group of friends or if they are completely immersed in the game and their virtual environment while they play. I offer that very often, the way one plays a console game is very different from the way one plays a PC game.

Nevertheless, to respond directly to your question, Razer is always open to exploring new hardware opportunities, as long as we can create advanced technology that can enhance the user experience.

Razer Interview: Robert Krakoff Introducing Robert Krakoff
The Razer Tarantula is endorsed by professional gamers like Meng 'Rocketboy' Yang.

Bit: With the Nintendo Wii and PS3 SixAxis controller changing the way console games are played, there is a fear that PC gaming may be left behind. What do you think is the future of PC peripherals and will there ever be a time when mice and keyboards are left behind?

Robert: Let’s take this scenario and play Halo 2 online 1v1 for money. I’ll play on a PC using a Razer mouse and keyboard and you use the game controller of your choice. We’ll see who gets left behind.

My point is that in the games that matter (the ones played for prize money), the console and the current crop of game controllers can’t compete with the mouse and keyboard. If you own a console and only play against other console players this argument is moot, however; if you compete online head-to-head against PC players get ready for some serious pwnage.