Robert Krakoff, arguably the father of the gaming mouse, has died aged 81. Although he didn’t invent the concept, “RazerGuy” did as much as anyone to popularize it.
Krakoff was working at a company called Karna which developed a mouse specifically aimed at gaming. Released in 2000, the Razer Boomslang could track its location with a sensitivity of 2000 dpi, around five times that of the traditional all-purpose mice of the era.
As well as the usual two buttons and scroll wheel, it had an extra thumb button on either side. (Only one could be active at a time, but this allowed it to be used by both left-handed and right-handed people.) Among the functions, combining the thumb button and scroll wheel changed the mouse sensitivity instantly. A contemporary review noted uses include decreasing sensitivity when switching to sniper mode.
Krakoff played a key role in naming and marketing the mouse. After Karna went out of business, he co-founded Razer where he famously included a signed message to buyers with every box. It included a public email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) which Karna monitored, regularly interacting with customers.
After leaving Razer he ran an energy drink and supplement business and wrote books under the pseudonym RM Krakoff.