Here are a few questions answered by Robert Krakoff, President of Razer USA Ltd. regarding their high precision gaming peripherals. Keep reading to learn more about these great products.
DreamStation.cc: What can we see in the future for Razer products, will you be developing any video game system hardware for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or Wii? I know this may be a stretch but videogame systems are more and more like PCs everyday.
Robert Krakoff: We have a number of new product projects in various stages of development. There might be one or two of these in the works. But they may never see the light of day unless they live up to our standards and deliver on our mission of ” enhancing the gaming experience”. We are not interested in being another me-too hardware company grinding out game controllers whose only redeeming quality is cosmetic.
DreamStation.cc: What do you think is the next step in video game hardware trends?
Robert Krakoff: The gaming market is even more focused on genre-specific hardware. Razer has expanded into audio products and keyboards this year. Game developers are focused on expansive, immersive game play with ever better AI and animation. Before long you’ll barely be able to tell cut-scene movies from in-game action. Razer’s part in this is to make certain that the hardware keeps up with the demand of the games. For example, our audio products support the immersive game environment and provide a positional edge.
DreamStation.cc: Can you see more hardware like keyboards being backlit for gamers that play late into the night without waking up other people (wife, roommate, etc)?
Robert Krakoff: It’s clear to us that gamers want to play at night with only the ambient light from their monitor, mouse, keyboard and even in some cases mousing surface. While this is a trend gamers are also demanding modded lighting, adjustable lighting and other features. Razer is working on some new technology that we believe is pretty cool. I can’t say more now but it’s coming next year.
DreamStation.cc: Do you see a keyboard ever taking the place of a keyboard and mouse combo?
Robert Krakoff: Perhaps, but only if it can provide the precision gamers require, be adaptable to all game styles of play and be relatively easy to adapt to. Otherwise it will bomb big time.
DreamStation.cc: Could you tell us a little more about the Razer’s all-in-one suite of gear for hardcore gamers?
Robert Krakoff: We call our mouse, keyboard, audio solution and mousing surface a suite because since day one we have been driven to develop these four categories because they were the holy grail of gaming devices that would provide gamers with a significant advantage. Actually in order of importance to most gamers it would the mouse, the mousing surface, the audio products and then the keyboard. Now we are finally there after almost nine years…gaming virvana.
DreamStation.cc: Could you tell us a little about the modern day battle between David and Goliath in the video game hardware greens?
Robert Krakoff: The last time I checked we were still David. The guys with the big L on their chests are pretty damn good. We admire the heck out of them. Our advantage is that we focus only and purely on gaming. We believe that there is room for both companies and gamers want choices. Competition is good for the marketplace. If we or they held a monopoly on gaming hardware you wouldn’t see as many new products and retail prices wouldn’t be very competitive. Did I mention that we were still David?
DreamStation.cc: What sets The Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card apart from all the other sound cards out there?
Robert Krakoff: We created our own audio solution that lowered system resources, increases frame rate and more importantly vastly improves positional audio.
DreamStation.cc: What made Razer make a sound card? Did they think something was missing in today’s sound cards?
Robert Krakoff: What we were trying to create initially was a headset for gamers that was comfortable and sounded great. Unfortunately no matter how hard we tried we couldn’t create the product we wanted. What we learned was that the problem lied in the audio cards; not in the headset. Due to the history of driver-bloat the soundcards available to gamers were lowering the potential performance of the headphone or headset.
DreamStation.cc: Razer’s partnership with Microsoft that developed the Habu gaming mouse, do you ever see an end to the higher and higher DPI and does it really make that much of a difference?
Robert Krakoff: Actually, yes and no. The yes is my belief that DPI has reached the limit whereby higher DPI won’t provide significant precision or accuracy gains. The metric that means more is IPS (inches per second). The no part is because there are sensor makers who have jumped on the DPI bandwagon and are coming out with ever higher ratings. Until this is proven to me I’ll be dubious that additional DPI is useful. What’s ironic about this is that Razer is the company that raised the DPI bar to 2000 in 1999 with the release of the Boomslang, a opti-mechanical mouse of now-legendary proportions … at least in the gaming world. Now here I am 8 years later suggesting that we find a new metric.
DreamStation.cc: Who came to whom about making the Habu gaming mouse for Microsoft and why?
Robert Krakoff: Actually I was sitting around chatting with Bill Gates about Razer buying out Microsoft when…
DreamStation.cc: The Razer Tarantula gaming keyboard has onboard memory that can store 100 profiles. Could you see upcoming keyboards coming with an expansion slot to load setup’s on a memory card for whatever game you are playing?
Robert Krakoff: Have you been spying on our new product development meetings?
DreamStation.cc: How much time and feedback comes from gamers before you start to look into making a product?
Robert Krakoff: I would say that nearly half of our best product features come from user concepts. These are not always from professional gamers or dudes with degrees in computer sciences. They come from casual gamers and even non-gamers from time-to-time. In the development of any new product there is a period of assessment and then evaluation. Following that there are several points of validation with gamers on every continent. The process can take anywhere from 4 months up to 2 years for the Tarantula.
DreamStation.cc: I know Razer products are made by gamers for gamers but is there anyway your average gamer can give feedback to Razer and tell them what they would like to see in upcoming product?
Robert Krakoff: We encourage all gamers to provide feedback to us. For example we are currently looking for amateur and professional Counter Strike gamers in the San Diego area to help us with some product validation. My email address has been on Razerzone since 1999 and I love to hear from everyone. Big ideas or small, the good with the bad. This is such a crucial part of our success is that the gamers are open and willing to share and that we are open and accessible to listen.
DreamStation.cc: Are there any plans to make another hard mouse pad like the ExactMat or is the trend going towards the large Razer Mantis Mat?
Robert Krakoff: IMO mouse pads are more dependent today on the future development of mouse sensors. Laser vs. optical and where this all shakes out. We are playing a wait and see strategy since there are new sensor generations coming on both sides…and BTW don’t let anyone tell you that optical mice are dead.
DreamStation.cc: Is there anything that you would like to add that we have not covered?
Robert Krakoff: Yeah, where do you get these questions? (j/k) Always a pleasure and hope to see you at CES in Las Vegas where we plan to unveil some very new and advanced products. Nuf sed.
DreamStation.cc: Last two questions. Do you like pie or cake and do you like shoes or sandals? Why?
Robert Krakoff: ROLF, no contest, pie a clear winner. Cake offers no irrational real numbers and sandals all the way because Archimedes always wore them when he ate pie.
DreamStation.cc: DreamStation.cc would like to thank Robert Krakoff for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We wish him continued success and look forward to trying all the new Razer products.
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