We managed to schedule in a little one on one chat with Razer President - Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff and we discussed a number of subjects relating to the gaming market and their products.
Robert Krakoff - Razer President
Allan: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Robert. Can you tell us what your normal working day involves?
Robert: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to your readers Allan. One of the great things about working in the computer gaming industry is that there are no normal work days. That said, I usually start my day answering a lot of emails from customers. They write me regarding all sorts of subjects, from new innovation concepts to my opinion on which mouse is best for their individual needs. Then I spend time reading game forums and review our fan sites. I spend time on product marketing, press relations and of course community relations. Right now we are spending a great amount of time preparing for the Consumer Electronics Show, coming in early January in Las Vegas.
Allan: We hear Razer recently launched the new 'Imperator gaming mouse', are you excited about the product and can you tell us the target demographic - the hardcore clan gamer or the general home gamer?
Robert: Yes, the Imperator mouse is a pretty interesting product for us. It is a new design for Razer. We spent a great deal of time studying the human factors and movement of gamers for this design. It is probably more targeted to hardcore gamers, and in particular those gamers who play both high and low sensitivity games or inadvertently shift from a fingertip to a claw grip in the heat of battle. This is a very adaptive design.
Allan: Can you give us some specifications regarding the mouse - what do you feel are the major selling points?
Razer Imperator Mouse
Robert: Well, the engineering is top of the line, anchored by a 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G laser sensor, four position adjustable side buttons for optimum reach that is an ideal feature for different hand sizes and grips, and Razer Synapse memory. Personally I really like the contoured thumb grip and the right-handed ergonomic shape.
Allan: Is there dedicated software for this mouse - is there macro control?
Robert: Yes, with the software you can assign the seven buttons (plus mousewheel forward and back), adjust your sensor performance, manage up to five profiles and adjust lighting and of course manage macro assignments.
Allan: Hopefully we will have a review of this on Driverheaven, have you any retail prices for the UK/Europe/USA market?
Robert: The Razer Imperator costs $79.99 in the USA and €69.99 in Europe.
Allan: We have been asked how research and development works in a company like Razer, how many employees do you have and have you specified teams for various divisions of R&D? It must be such a competitive environment for Razer and difficult to always try and be one step ahead.
Robert: That’s a really good question. Razer is very different from nearly every other hardware company inasmuch as we design and develop nearly all of our own products in house. The standard development procedure is to find other equipment makers (OEMs) and use standard industry technology to develop products. At Razer our process involves a great deal of user (gamer) research, feedback and innovation to begin to identify unmet needs of gamers and then develop those products in one of our two design centers. Each design center comprises electrical and mechanical engineers, industrial designers, project managers that actually act as product producers and lastly quality assurance testing. You may also find it interesting that Razer has a third studio that specializes completely in software, firmware and game add-on development. All of these people work full time and exclusively for Razer to deliver original, advanced gaming technology.
Razer Naga 'MMO' Mouse read the Driverheaven review here
Allan: How much work is there involved with actually creating a laser or optical 'engine' for a mouse, it’s something we all take for granted, but the work involved must be phenomenal.
Robert: Every product we develop has one engine or key component, or more. We do spend quite a bit of time on R&D for our products, but I can’t reveal all of the secret ingredients that go into making a Razer mouse. What we can tell you is that a lot of work goes into the firmware development and tweaking of the sensor to ensure maximum performance.
Allan: How do you feel currently about the Razer gaming product range, are you happy with the product lineup?
Robert: When it comes to happy I let our customers, friends, fans and press make that connection. Based on user feedback I would say that our current product mix has hit the right mix of customer satisfaction. That is not to say that there aren’t areas for expansion or improvement; Razer is always looking for that next great gaming solution.
Allan: Are you excited about 2010? Is Razer going to be concentrating on other markets inside the PC environment?
Robert: Yes I am excited and we will be making some very exciting announcements at CES in Las Vegas in about seven weeks and also throughout the year. Unfortunately I am not at liberty to leak any advanced info at this time.
Allan: We loved your Mako speakers and they won our top award on DriverHeaven ... are there plans for a follow up set of Makos at some stage?
Robert: Great product and a wonderful way to make a name for Razer in the audio category. There are plans for additional audio products over the next couple of years – again I am not at liberty to divulge details. Sorry!
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