Bernie Stolar who helped launch the original Sony Playstation in the United States and the SEGA Dreamcast in the US has sadly passed away at the age of 75 according to his family. Bernie was known for his honest no nonsense approach to management. He became the very first executive vice president and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America and was involved in launching the original PlayStation in the United States in September 1995 plus he was responsible for signing off a number of classic video game franchises including Crash Bandicoot, Ridge Racer, Oddworld Inhabitants, Spyro The Dragon and Battle Arena Toshinden. He later took a the job offer to become president of SEGA of America and his first priority there was to kill off the ill-fated SEGA Saturn and subsequently he worked on heading up the SEGA Dreamcast which launched in the United States in 1999. Our thoughts go out to Mr. Stolar’s family and friends.
Working as the very first executive vice president at PlayStation:
“I loved working for Sony. I really did. But when the opportunity came up to go to Sega and help rebuild the business and come up with new hardware, I was very interested in doing it. I wouldn’t have left Sony if I hadn’t also lived in fear of getting fired along with everyone else, though.”
Working as president of SEGA of America:
“When I got to Sega I immediately said, ‘We have to kill Saturn. We have to stop Saturn and start building the new technology.’ That’s what I did. I brought in a new team of people and cleaned house. There were 300-some-odd employees and I took the company down to 90 employees to start rebuilding.
“I took the Sega position based on conversations with Hayao Nakayama, who was then chairman of the company,” Stolar said. “We’d institute and bring in a new hardware system that would do online multiplayer games. That became Dreamcast. I headed that up. Unfortunately Nakayama got pushed out of the company by Mr. Okawa at the end of 1999, and when he got pushed out, I got into an argument with Japan as well. I was pushed out as well.”