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Lessons Learned from the Life of Videogame Executive Bernie Stolar

Monday June 27, 2022. 09:51 AM , from Slashdot
VentureBeat reports:
Video game legend Bernie Stolar, former president of Sega of America, has passed away at the age of 75, friends said.

Bernie Stolar was the first executive VP of Sony Computer Entertainment America, according to their article, and helped line up the games for the launch of the first PlayStation, eventually signing franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Ridge Racer, Oddworld Inhabitants, Spyro The Dragon and Battle Arena Toshinden.

VentureBeat remembers how Stolar then became president/COO of Sega of America, helping lead the development and launch of the Sega Dreamcast (while killing development of their home video console Saturn). Stolar acquired Visual Concepts for Sega of America, which ultimately led to the creation of 2K Sports. Joining Mattel in 1999, he helped the company sell a line of videogames.

But then Stolar became an adviser/director at Adscape Media, and later sold that company to Google for $23 million. The lead writer for VentureBeat's GameBeat remembers what happened next — and what he'd learned after interviewing Stolar in 2015:

'There was no interest in games at Google at the time,' Stolar said. 'I went to the CEO, who was Eric Schmidt, and said, 'Why don't we put advertising in all these games and give them away for free online?' He said, 'We're not in the game business.' I said, 'We're not going into the game business. We're not developing games. We're taking games from publishers and streaming those through our online network.' He wouldn't do it. That's when I knew I should leave the company....'

Toward the end of our interview in 2015, Stolar said, 'I've been doing this since 1980. 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.'

Stolar joked he could be the grandfather for the CEOs he was advising. I asked Stolar how long he would work.

'Put it this way. I've spoken to two individuals about this, Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch,' he said. 'They're both in their 80s. They're both multi-billionaires. They certainly don't have to work, right? And they've both said to me, 'If you retire, you die.' I believe that. My father, when he sold his liquor store and stopped working, passed away three months later. I'm not going to stop.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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