Bernard “Bernie” Stolar has passed away at the age of 75, according to coverage by GamesBeat that can confirm the loss of the video game legend. Stolar needs no introduction for those who have followed the inner workings of the gaming industry, as the man had served as not only the former president of Sega of America, but also the first executive vice president and founding member of Sony Computer Entertainment America, spearheading the PlayStation brand. The game executive was prompted to leave Sony for Sega in the ’90s for what reasons that included greater job stability, a move that cemented his involvement in the development and launch of Sega’s final but still beloved system, the Dreamcast. A funeral service for Stolar was held today at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Los Angeles.
“When I got to Sega I immediately said, ‘We have to kill Saturn. We have to stop Saturn and start building the new technology,'”, Stolar said. “That’s what I did. I brought in a new team of people and cleaned house. There were 300-some-odd employees and I took the company down to 90 employees to start rebuilding.”
“I took the Sega position based on conversations with Hayao Nakayama, who was then chairman of the company,” Stolar added. “We’d institute and bring in a new hardware system that would do online multiplayer games. That became Dreamcast. I headed that up. Unfortunately Nakayama got pushed out of the company by Mr. Okawa at the end of 1999, and when he got pushed out, I got into an argument with Japan as well. I was pushed out as well.”
In 1999, he joined Mattel. He saw some success selling Barbie video games during the tenure of Mattel CEO Jill Barad, who had acquired The Learning Company.
In late 2005, Stolar became an adviser and director at Adscape Media, and he later sold that company to Google for $23 million. At the time, he became the games evangelist at Google and he hoped to get them in to the gaming business.
After that, Stolar moved over to startups. He ran companies such as GetFugu, Zoom Platform, the Jordan Freeman Group, and CogniToys. When I did the interview in 2015, Stolar was 68 when he took the role at CogniToys.