Kutaragi steps down as head of Sony's gaming division

Although his retirement was originally announced nearly two months in advance, Ken Kutaragi has officially stepped down today from his position as Chairman, Group CEO and Representative Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. SCEI's Kazuo Hirai will assume control of the company as both President and Group CEO.

Kutaragi has been known throughout his career at Sony as the "Father of the PlayStation", due to his invention of both the PlayStation console in 1994 and the PlayStation 2 in 2000. Both machines went on to become immense successes, catapulting SCEI into its dominant position as the industry leader in home console hardware.

However, Kutaragi may be more recently remembered over his failures linked with the PlayStation 3 console, which has so far underperformed sales-wise due to a number of issues, including its high-end price tag and its current shortage of must-have software. In addition, increased pressure from its primary competitors, Microsoft and Nintendo, have caused the company to lose its grip on the majority market share it so comfortably held due to the dominance of the PS2.

Although Kutaragi no longer maintains his executive status, he will not completely part ways with the company, as he has agreed to stay on board as a special senior technology advisor to Sony Corp. Meanwhile, Kutaragi plans to be deeply involved with a number of side projects, which include the creation of PlayStations 4, 5, and 6. In previous interviews, Kutaragi has admitted that the "vision" of the next three consoles and how they will "merge into the network" have already been mapped out.

During his outspoken career, Kutaragi was often made famous by his baffling and at times controversial comments. To commemorate his departure, we thought we'd revisit his top 5 most memorable quotes.

1. On the success of the X360:

"Beating us for a short moment is like accidentally winning a point from a Karate master."

2. On the PlayStation 3's online capabilities:

"Did you see the movie 'The Matrix'? Same interface. Same concept. Starting from next year, you can jack into 'The Matrix'!"

3. On the PS3's high price tag:

"Consumers should think to themselves 'I will work more hours to buy one.' We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else."

4. On the PlayStation 3's criticised design:

"I believe we made the most beautiful thing in the world."

5. On his rumoured-to-be-forced retirement:

""I am happy to graduate from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc."

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Eugene Huang

GamePro (online)
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