Oh My God. You Retired Kenny!
What gets me out of bed and into the office every day is the thought of Ken Kutaragi’s resignation letter, framed, hanging next to my desk.”
—Xbox chief J Allard
Looks like Allard will never get that resignation letter, but perhaps he can make do with a retirement announcement. Thursday afternoon, Sony said that Ken Kutaragi, the mercurial executive behind all four iterations of the Sony PlayStation, will retire in June, his departure presumably hastened by lackluster sales of the PlayStation 3. The PS3 “has been a huge disappointment, No. 3 out of three in terms of console sales,” analyst Rob Enderle, founder of Enderle Group, told News.com. “It’s been a huge embarrassment for the firm, and a huge hole that money has been pouring into. When you go from superstar to walking disaster, there are few executives that can survive that. You’re only as good as your last financial report, and while he was given some leeway (with the PS3) there were obviously some huge mistakes.”
Obviously. Botched launches, embarrassing production shortages and a $600 price point made no easier on the wallet by Kutaragi’s suggestion that we should all want to work a little bit harder to buy one. But let’s not forget that were it not for Kutaragi, there wouldn’t be a PlayStation. As Time Magazine noted back in 2004, “If video games are the storytelling medium of the coming century, Kutaragi is their Gutenberg.“