"Father of the PlayStation" Ken Kutaragi Retires

By Chris Faylor, Apr 26, 2007 10:08am PDT PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi (right) will retire from his position as Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) representative director, chairman and group CEO as of June 19, 2007, the day of SCEI's annual shareholders meeting. Following that date, Kutaragi will assume the position of SCEI honorary chairman and also act as a senior technology adviser to Sony Corporation chairman and CEO Howard Stringer. Current SCEI president and group COO Kaz Hirai (left), who was just appointed to his position last November, will then replace Kutaragi as SCEI's new group CEO while continuing to serve as president.

As the man who persuaded a reluctant Sony to enter the console market following his work on the SNES sound chip, Kutaragi played a pivotal role in the creation of Sony's PlayStation brand, aiding in the design and launch of the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PSP, and PlayStation 3. His strong willed personality and sometimes controversial opinions were also known to go against the wishes of others in the company, causing him to gain an internal reputation as a maverick.

Despite his undeniable influence on the game industry, many began to question Kutaragi after several odd public statements, such as when he claimed the PSP was the "the most beautiful thing in the world" or another instance in which he insisted the then-unreleased PlayStation 3 was not a game machine.

News of Kutaragi's retirement comes soon after Sony Computer Entertainment's recent consideration of worldwide job cuts and restructuring, though the events are almost certainly unrelated. However, this news is almost certain to thrill Microsoft's J Allard, who while serving as Xbox vice president and chief XNA architect back in 2005, stated his driving motivation in the games industry was the thought of Kutaragi's resignation letter framed on his wall.

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