Bernie Stolar, former President/COO of the America branch of Japanese multinational video game and entertainment company, SEGA Corporation, and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America passed away on 25th June at the age of 75.
Pivotal role in the gaming industry
He has been a leader in the interactive and video game industry for more than four decades. He assisted in introducing the iconic PlayStation game to the world during his stint as the first EVP of Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Dreamcast console was the brainchild of Bernie which was the most successful console launch in the history of the gaming industry.
Between the early 1980s to 1999, Stolar played a critical role in shaping the gaming industry and served as a high-ranking executive for most of the big gaming industry players.
Stolar started his career in 1980 as co-founder of Pacific Novelty Manufacturing Inc, a coin-op company that served arcades around the state of California. He then went on to work for Atari in its coin-op division and later moved to the home console division of the company.
Stolar was the first EVP of Sony Computer Entertainment America
Stolar became the first executive vice president and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America in the early 1990s. He assisted in building early PlayStation games like Crash Bandicoot, Ridge Racer, Oddworld Inhabitants, Spyro The Dragon, and Battle Arena Toshinden.
He joined the American multinational toy manufacturing and entertainment company, Mattel in 1999 and achieved little success in selling Barbie-based video games.
He then switched to Adscape Media after a few years in 2005. The company was later sold to search engine giant Google for a whopping $23 million. He then started collaborating with many startup firms like GetFugu, Zoom Platform, Jordan Freeman Group, and CogniToys.
Speaking about the gaming industry, Stolar once said, “I love this business. I love it because I get to work with people who are young and passionate. I’m one of the old gray-haired guys in the industry, but it’s wonderful to work with all this young talent. I’ve been doing this since 1980. I loved working for Sony. I wouldn’t have left Sony if I hadn’t also lived in fear of getting fired along with everyone else, though.”
Tributes and Condolence by Friends and Well-wishers
Game enthusiasts and well-wishers flooded social media with tributes and condolence messages.
Dean Takahashi, journalist and lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat tweeted, “Sorry to hear this. I pulled some quotes from a long interview I did with Bernie back in 2015. Gaming legend Bernie Stolar passes away.”
Producer and Dynamic Marketing Consultant remembered the late video game legend by writing, “I will miss you Bernie – I always appreciated you for pulling me into AdscapeMedia”.
Ethan Johnson, an independent games researcher, tweeted, “Confirmation on the passing of Bernie Stolar, legendary executive of Pacific Novelty, Konami, Atari Corp, Sony, and Sega. He was a huge force in the industry as it developed into what it is today and did more good than anyone is seemingly willing to give him credit for.”
A funeral service took place today at 11 AM Pacific Time at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Los Angeles on 26th June.
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