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Video game legend Bernie StolarThe former president of Sega of America has died at the age of 75, friends said.
Tables became popular. I met him when he was president and chief operating officer of Sega of America, where he helped develop and launch the Sega Dreamcast. He was one of the more open and honest and memorable leaders I met in the gaming industry.
Prior to that, Stolar was the first executive vice president and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America. He helped sort the original games for the release of the original PlayStation. At Sony, he has signed gaming franchises, including Crash Bandicoot, Ridge Racer, Oddworld Inhabitants, Spyro The Dragon and Battle Arena Toshinden. But he quit.
“I loved working for Sony,” Stolar told me in an interview. “I really did. But when I had the opportunity to go to Sega and help rebuild the business and build new equipment, I was very interested in doing so. I wouldn’t have left Sony if I hadn’t lived with everyone in fear of being fired.
I talked to him about it in 2015.
“I did it in 1994, yes. Unfortunately, Steve (Race) was fired by Jeff Sagansky, who runs Sony Computer Entertainment America, after the others were fired. This changed the whole complex of the company, as Mr. Maruyama, a leading member of the board of PlayStation in Japan, came to restructure the whole company. Everyone else was working there for rent. “
He added: “I was worried about what happened next. Everyone was fired. I felt like I was the last person to stop. After Tom Kalinke left, I received a job offer to become the president of Sega in the United States.
At Sega of America, Stolar did not waste time.
“When I reached Sega, I immediately said, ‘We have to kill Saturn.’ We must stop Saturn and start creating new technology. ” I did it. I brought a new team and cleaned the house. There were about 300 employees, and I reduced the company to 90 employees to start rebuilding, ”said Stolar.
Stolar helped design and launch the Dreamcast. One of Stolar’s best steps back then was to acquire Visual Concepts for American Sega and create 2K Sports.
Dreamcast did well in the US, but lost globally to the Sony PlayStation 2.
“I took Sega’s position based on conversations with Hayao Nakayama, the company’s chairman at the time,” Stolar said. “We would build a new hardware system that would play online multiplayer games. This was a Dreamcast. I led it. Unfortunately, Nakayama was fired from the company by Mr. Okawa in late 1999, and when he was fired, I had an argument with Japan. I was also fired. “
He joined Mattel in 1999. He succeeded in selling Barbie video games during the reign of Mattel CEO Jill Barad, who bought The Learning Company.
“It was the right decision for Mattel to get into the software business,” Stolar said. “They just bought the wrong company,” he said. He did not realize that he was buying a company with the highest income, but no results. When I joined the company, they lost a million dollars a day. At that time, the board asked me to resign, and I did. ”
In late 2005, Stolar became a consultant and director at Adscape Media, and later sold the company to Google for $ 23 million. At the time, he was a gambler at Google and hoped to get them involved in the gaming business.
“At the time, Google had no interest in games,” Stolar said. “I went to CEO Eric Schmidt and said, ‘Why don’t we advertise all these games and give them online for free? “We’re not in the game,” he said. I said that we are not involved in the game. We do not develop games. We buy games from publishers and distribute them through our online network. ‘ He would not do that. That’s when I realized that I had to leave the company. I started helping them to preach, but I knew there was no future for me. ”
After that, Stolar moved to startups. He has managed companies such as GetFugu, Zoom Platform, Jordan Freeman Group and CogniToys. Stolar was 68 when he starred in CogniToys in a 2015 interview.
In a 2015 interview, I reminded Stolar that comedian Martin Short once joked at a game award show where Bernie worked for every company in the gaming business.
“For me, it’s about the team and the product. If you don’t have the right team, you won’t be able to win, ”Stolar said. “If you look at what I did at Sega, I basically kicked people of all ages out of sales and marketing and brought in a whole new team. I brought Peter Moore, who worked with me on Reebok. When I brought Peter in, Hayao Nakayama said to me, “Why am I hiring a shoe salesman?” I said, “I don’t care. I believe he understands how to build a brand. I want to rebuild this brand because we are now showing the consumer what we have lost. We must show them that we are a winning company. He finally agreed with me, and Peter got a job.
At the end of our 2015 interview, Stolar said: “I have been doing this since 1980. I love this job. I love it because I can work with young and passionate people. I’m one of the old white-haired guys in the industry, but it’s great to work with all this young talent. ”
Stolar joked that he could be the grandfather of the CEOs he advised. I asked the desks how long it would work.
“It simply came to our notice then. “I’ve talked to two people, Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch.” “They are both 80 years old. Both are multibillionaires. They certainly don’t have to work, do they? And they both told me that if you retire, you will die. I believe in it. My father died three months later when he stopped selling alcohol. I do not intend to stop. “
Funeral services will be held Sunday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time at the Peace House Cemetery in Los Angeles.
“I’ll miss you Bernie – I’ve always appreciated you for drawing me to AdscapeMedia,” Jay Randy Gordon told GamesBeat. “The next time I play golf, I’ll make a toast to you in the clubhouse, remembering some of your expressions like ‘if they can’t take a joke.'”
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