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Thread: Gaming legend Bernie Stolar passes away

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    Default Gaming legend Bernie Stolar passes away

    https://www.eurogamer.net/sega-of-am...lar-dies-at-75

    Former Sega of America president and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Bernie Stolar, has died aged 75 years old.

    RIP

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    End of line.. Shining Hero gamevet's Avatar
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    A lot of Sega fans may hate on Stolar for convincing Japan to move on from the Saturn, but this Saturn fan thought that he had made the right choice. We got an excellent launch of the Dreamcast in North America, and him pushing for the DC having the modem built into every DC was a good decision. RIP Bernie!
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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    RIP Bernie.

    I'm always conflicted on this Saturn thing - on one hand it's the job of an executive to know when to kill a failing product and the Saturn was failing by any measure. On the other hand in a business like videogames you want your consumers to know you are going to stick around and support them, otherwise no one has any faith in buying your products. I like how Nintendo kept releasing big games on the Wii U even though it was clear the system was toast, of course they had a lot more money and today it's much easier to port your game to newer hardware. Given the resources Bernie had, he probably had little choice.

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    The Future is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingESWAT Veteran Leynos's Avatar
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    RIP Bernie. Thank you for 9/9/99

    Life?!...What console is that on?

    [PSN] Segata-S //[Switch] FC-SW 3892 5228 2895 //[XBL]Dogi99

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    WCPO Agent Greg2600's Avatar
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    Dang, RIP to a one of the icons.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axel View Post
    I'm always conflicted on this Saturn thing - on one hand it's the job of an executive to know when to kill a failing product and the Saturn was failing by any measure. On the other hand in a business like videogames you want your consumers to know you are going to stick around and support them, otherwise no one has any faith in buying your products.
    I'm a bit disappointed that this mis-information about Bernie Stolar still persists, even in a thread about his death. No personal offense intended - it's just that the internet is so woefully wrong about Bernie Stolar and what he did at Sega. Ironically, this is probably due to how the man himself discussed his time at Sega through the haze of memory.

    Bernie only became president of SOA on March 24, 1998.

    His tenure at Sega was basically as follows:

    July 1996: Hired. Served as president of Sega Entertainment, Inc (Sega's PC game business).
    March 1997: Appointed COO of SOA under Shoichiro Irimajiri.
    March 1998: Appointed president of SOA.
    1999: Fired before launch of Dreamcast.

    Stolar's chief responsibilities as COO were to rebuild SOA's personnel from the ground up. He fired most the current remaining staff and brought in all new marketing people, including Peter Moore (hired in 1998). His efforts were centered on readying Sega for the launch of its next console.

    He would not have been making decisions about whether or not to kill off the Saturn (although I'm sure he made more than a few suggestions). That decision came down to Irimajiri and Nakayama.

    And, as should be blatantly obvious to anyone, SOA did not kill off the Saturn in 1997. SOA was still pumping money into the Saturn through 1997, and even ran a $25 million advertising campaign towards the end of 1997. This infamously led to bad blood between Irimajiri and Nakayama. Irimajiri wanted to kill the Saturn, but Nakayama wanted to keep pushing it, even though it was costing the company money. Stolar was not behind any of those decisions. He was running a gutted, near-bankrupt subsidiary, and trying to somehow rebuild it.

    What about that silly E3 quote from 1997? "Saturn's not our future." Read the interview in its entirety: Stolar is clearly trying to balance SOA's obvious failure with the Saturn, expectations for the future, and desires of current users. Of all the quotes taken out of context, this might be the biggest. I mean, a few lines before that, he says: "Saturn is the system we are supporting; the third parties are still publishing titles. We'll keep supporting the Saturn until the next time we start clearly focusing on where our next step on the platform side will be."

    In context, the "Saturn's not our future" quote is clearly saying that Sega has plans to be first in the industry again. Here's the full quote:

    "Saturn's not our future. As a company we believe that we will take the leadership role on the hardware side, as well as the software side, and it's only a matter of time. It's like CBS going from third to first."

    He's NOT saying that SOA is killing off support for the Saturn. He's saying that the company still has big plans and its failure with the Saturn does not represent where it will be in the future. As a president of a failing company, he's trying to generate hope and expectations for the company's revival.

    Nakayama was eventually kicked upstairs in 1998, Irimajiri became president in Japan, and Stolar became president at SOA. Stolar was a Nakayama supporter, and both of them believed in 1) the necessity of good software, and 2) the benefits of being a platform holder. Unfortunately, Nakayama and Irimajiri (supported by Okawa) continued to fight about the direction of the Dreamcast into 1999, and Nakayama resigned from the company in 1999 due to these disagreements. With Nakayama gone, Stolar soon butted heads with Okawa and was pushed out.

    A great quote from Stolar:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Stolar
    When [former Sega President Hayao] Nakayama was pushed out of the company, the company really changed. The heart and soul of Sega came from him, and he really believed that software drove hardware -- which is true. He also believed that if youíre going to be a major competitor in the gaming world, you needed to own the hardware platform. When Nakayama was pushed out and when I was pushed out, I think what took place was, Mr. [Isao] Okawa, who then became the chairman of the company -- he was an investment banker from CSK [Holdings Corporation].... I donít believe he was committed to the hardware. He just believed it should be a software company.
    RIP Bernie Stolar.

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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    RIP Bernie.

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    Underground Sega Nut BonusKun's Avatar
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    RIP Bernie. I'll say this. If someone comes in this thread, *you know who you are* and starts any form of shitting on Bernie, You're gonna get got.

    Only warning.
    05/05/15

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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    Lol you should start a pool for how many hours it will take.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher Virtua Hunter's Avatar
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    RIP Bernie, so it's confirmed after all

    While he sure made some mistakes with Saturn (the RPG side...), and the infamous out of context quote "Saturn is not our future" still haunts his figure ( it was probably the result of journalists back then who loved to trash Sega all the time), even the haters recognize his job in preparation for the Dreamacast.

    Too bad that these key figures were kicked out of the company, they were the real supporter of Sega as an hardware company

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    Underground Sega Nut BonusKun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Lol you should start a pool for how many hours it will take.
    You're probably right but even so I would hope those people would learn to have some respect for the dead without being a dick about it.
    05/05/15

  12. #12
    Old Sega is where it's at Wildside Expert Mykaizer's Avatar
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    RIP. Time to celebrate his life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gryson View Post
    I'm a bit disappointed that this mis-information about Bernie Stolar still persists, even in a thread about his death. No personal offense intended - it's just that the internet is so woefully wrong about Bernie Stolar and what he did at Sega. Ironically, this is probably due to how the man himself discussed his time at Sega through the haze of memory.
    Thanks. I think that did come up here before but I forgot lol. Anyway my point is that I don't judge any of them for making tough decisions re: the Saturn. There was no way to move forward that would make everyone happy.

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virtua Hunter View Post
    While he sure made some mistakes with Saturn (the RPG side...)
    More of this silly stuff.

    Can anyone actually make a list of all the games that Bernie Stolar prevented from being released on the Saturn in North America? I'm so curious. What were all the Sega-developed RPGs that weren't localized?

    Dragon Force? Shining Wisdom? Magic Knight Rayearth? All localized by Working Designs - but all released in Japan well before Stolar was hired by SOA.
    Linkle Liver Story?
    Dragon Force II? Shining Force III pt. 2/3? Both released past 1998 in Japan - add in localization time and no one had any hopes for the Saturn at that point.

    What else? Maybe Princess Crown?

    Seriously, the amount of silly-bad incorrect information about Stolar and the Saturn is astounding.

    I even see Stolar being blamed for games like Radiant Silvergun not being released in NA. It... wasn't published by Sega!

    Meanwhile, SOA during the Genesis era was horrible with RPGs. So many of Sega's great RPGs got left in Japan, or barely got localized with no marketing, or were left to other publishers to localize.

    I just find it hilarious that Stolar is blamed for the Saturn's failure because he blocked the release of "RPGs".

    A more curious question is: How did all of this Stolar = boogieman stuff develop? Was it just frustrated Saturn owners looking for someone to blame? Was it a carryover from his time at Sony where he had a reputation for not releasing 2D games? Was it a result of a Victor Ireland's very vocal disapproval of Stolar?

  15. #15
    End of line.. Shining Hero gamevet's Avatar
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    I think that a lot of that does have to do with Vic Ireland. He also blamed Sony for his companyís failure.

    I think that the big RPG that irks the Saturn faithful is Grandia.

    You gotta give Stolar a lot of credit for getting SEGA Sports back on track for the DC. They were pretty pathetic on the Saturn. Visual Concepts really pushed EA hard that Generation.
    Last edited by gamevet; 06-28-2022 at 09:31 AM.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



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