Meet The Man Making Sure You Lose At 'Call of Duty'

By Kamau High , Updated Mar 02, 2013 07:58 AM EST
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Tim Erven feels your K/D ratio pain.

As the founder of Genius Mods (geniusmods.com), his job is to sell gamers modded controllers that do everything from light up to rapidily fire weapons.

And while a lot of people want to make their controller look cool, quite a few more want an advantage. “The most popular option is rapid fire,” he says in an interview with Gamenguide.com. “The other one is the drop shot, which make you drop to the ground automatically when you shoot your gun.”

I see this move a lot when I play "Call of Duty" and the next time I do I will impotently shake my fist in the air at Erven and his ilk.

Shooters are the defining game of this generation on consoles. From "Call of Duty" to "Gears of War" gamers have spoken with their dollars and time. And similar to how developers are constantly chasing the money hat that is Blizzard's "World of Warcraft' on the PC (why hello there, "Elder Scrolls Online" beta invitation), everybody wants to be "Call of Duty" (what's that, "Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel", I can't quite make out what you're saying). Gamers looking to distinguish themselves or burnish their credentials will seek out any advantage they can.

Erven is already planning on what to do when the next consoles come out. While Erven does work with Microsoft on events such as midnight launches for games like "Halo 4" and "Black Ops 2" he has no idea what their new controller will look like. "We're going crack it open and start modding it once it comes out," he says. "There are a lot of mockups online but we're taking them with a grain of salt. It's exciting and scary at the same time."

For the record Erven does think using his controllers is cheating. "It is an unfair advantage but it's limited to what the game will let you do. You won’t be able to shoot faster than the game will allow," he says. "It is like cheating, but the game has limitations. For example, if you're using rapid fire you empty the clip faster." Most of his customers want their 360 controller modded but he can and does mod PS3 controllers as well.

Erven, who is 23, started his business five years ago. A hardcore gamer all his life, his Milburn, NJ-based company has grown to 40 employees over the last few years. Last year he modded around 10,000 controllers at an average price of $100 and expects to do slightly better this year and is planning to expand his factory space.

However, he has advice for people who apply for a job thinking they're going to play games all day. "People think it's a dream job. They come in for interviews and I have to tell them it's actually work," he says. "Being aorund controlers all day loses its luster after a while but I still love it. People think I play games all day but it's really a lot of stress."

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