Meanwhile, Ken Kutaragi, the veteran engineer credited with overseeing the birth of PlayStation, has retired as Honorary Chairman of SCEI, retaining his role as senior technology adviser of Sony Corporation.
Kutaragi joined Sony in the 1970s and was heavily involved in the original iteration of the PlayStation – as a CD drive add-on for Nintendo’s SNES console. When Nintendo pulled out of the deal, Kuturagi masterminded the re-invention of the technology as a standalone console, effectively dragging Sony into the games industry.
He was president of SCEI until the end of 2006 when he was replaced by Kaz Hirai. Kutaragi briefly became chairman of SCEI until retiring from that role in controversial circumstances the following year. It has been suggested that his move to the non-executive position of honorary chairman was a form of punishment for the huge costs of developing and launching the PS3 console.
Kutaragi argued with users over the PSP buttons. He shouldn’t have done that. It backfired on him and began his downfall.
The book Revolutionaries at Sony: The Making of the Sony Playstation and the Visionaries Who Conquered the World of Video Games by Reiji Asakura is long out of print (and still not available in e!) but is worth reading.
Kutaragi placed a big bet with the creation of the PlayStation. Sony has been raking in the money ever since. And now they’ve given him the boot.
Thus confirming again that there is no place at Sony for people with vision.