Most helpful critical review
Nothing Revolutionary, but a decent read nonetheless
on January 2, 2001
Revolutionaries at Sony does a good job of detailing an insider's perspective of the rise of the Playstation. It gives a good account of how the platform came to be, and a thorough discussion of the hardware. Sony's business plans, particularly its marketing strategy is also detailed for the reader, and gives some insight into the marketing of the PS2.
Unfortunately, the story of Ken Katarugi, the "hero" of the book (p. xi), reads more like "The Life and Times of Montgomery Burns, as told by Waylon Smithers" rather than even a semi-objective attempt at accurate history. Indeed, after reading Revolutionaries at Sony, I was left wondering what is this book exactly? A history? A fan book? By its cover, it's supposed to be a business case-study book. As a case study book, I'd expect a wider range of perspectives. Who heard of a case study of a business that quotes the senior executives almost exclusively? Where are the attempts to build alternative explanations, or refute alternative hypothesis. If it is a business case study, then I'd also expect to see a more thorough description of the business environment Nintendo's business model, which Asakura seems to have missed almost completely, is scantly mentioned. Given that Sheff's excellent history of Nintendo is now several years old, this oversite is more than a little disturbing.
But, if you're looking for a good one sided (Officially sancioned) account of the rise of the PlayStation, and a few of the facts behind the Rise of the Playstation, then Revolutionaries at Sony will do.
You can read the full review at Joystick101.org