PlayStation is the hottest video-game platform going, and its $7 billion in annual sales now accounts for 23 percent of parent Sony's profits. In Revolutionaries at Sony
, Reiji Asakura describes how this came about despite long odds and naysayers both within and without. Asakura gives all credit to Ken Kutaragi, a visionary executive engineer who recognized the possibilities when he first viewed Sony's revolutionary "System G" 3-D technology in 1984 and who still believes it has achieved only a fraction of its potential for launching "an entire world of computerized home entertainment." Asakura attributes much of the ongoing success to Kutaragi's reliance on more than "an engineer's point of view," noting that whenever he "came across an interesting idea, his thoughts quickly turned to how (it) could be successfully commercialized." Asakura, an economic and technology journalist based in Tokyo, is an unabashed cheerleader of the PlayStation and the people who created it, calling the product "a modern miracle" and Kutaragi "the hero of this book." But anyone curious about these incredibly popular games, which increasingly hook middle managers along with their children, should find the tale an interesting one. --Howard Rothman
From the Back Cover
With all the drama of a page-turning adventure story and full of vital, real-world insights for anyone seeking to learn more about the nature of high-tech innovation and elite success, Reiji Asakura's Revolutionaries at Sony captures as never before the secrets, conflicts, and strategies behind an astonishing business and technological triumph.
In the beginning, Ken Kutaragi's audacious plan to engineer for Sony an altogether revolutionary type of gaming console based on high-end digital video graphics fell on hard ears. Sony, he was told by company executives, was not interested in venturing into the "toy" business, a market with infamously hard-to-please consumers and haunted by the ghosts of such moribund also-rans as Atari and the Commodore 64.
But Kutaragi refused to abandon his vision. Under the auspices of the newly formed Sony Computer Entertainment division, Kutaragi headed up a dynamic team of marketers, economists, and state-of-the-art designers and digital engineers. In four short years, they not only managed a successful foray into the gaming marketaethey absolutely dominated.
In the entire history of twentieth-century business, Sony's tremendous growth performance through the 1990s is virtually unmatched. And Revolutionaries at Sony shows you exactly how and exactly why it happened, affording readers an unprecedented inside look at the groundbreaking creation and marketing of what has since become the world's top-selling game machine, the Sony PlayStation. On the heels of the U.S. release of the blockbuster Sony PlayStation 2 earlier this year, this authorized account examines Ken Kutaragi's rare combination of passion and pragmatism, detailing how he made full use of corporate resources, how he worked in vain to initially sell the concept to Nintendo, and how he ultimately kept the project alive.