Ex-PlayStation president Ken Kutaragi may be the ‘Father of PlayStation’, but he had a tenuous relationship with his employees at best. Speaking as part of a question and answer session conducted by PlayStation 4 architect Mark Cerny, Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida recalled the discussion that preceded his recruitment to the fledgling Sony Computer Entertainment division.
Apparently, during dinner, Kutaragi turned to Yoshida and said that he knew that he didn’t like him, but believed that he would join the team because he'd get to do exciting work as a result. The affable executive didn’t even attempt to deny what his new boss had insinuated, simply responding, “Yes, exactly.”
This culminated in a strained relationship between the pair, despite their mutual respect. Yoshida explained that working with Kutaragi was difficult because he was prone to making unexpected changes all of the time. “Every week his direction and instructions could change,” the straight talking suit sighed.
Moreover, reacting to the executive’s whims was often a thankless task. “I was complimented by Ken twice,” exclaimed Yoshida. “When I say this to my colleagues, they say, 'Twice? That's a lot!'” As a result, the Worldwide Studios head is much more prone to recognising his team’s work. “For me, giving a compliment is free – it’s like a smile from McDonald's.”
Despite this seemingly troubled relationship, though, Yoshida is still grateful for all of the opportunities that Kutaragi afforded him in his career. “I have nothing but respect for what he has done for me,” he concluded. “We all love Ken.” As touching as that may be, we can kind of understand why the legend was quietly replaced by Kaz Hirai around the launch of the PlayStation 3.