Good to be Bad, Again

Good to be Bad, Again
Three Unappreciated Demon Slayers

Spanner | 28 Aug 2007 11:46
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Someone of a more lenient nature could never have made Microsoft the powerhouse it is today, and while there're many thousands of small reasons to dislike Bill Gates, they're outweighed by the two or three megalithic reasons to like him. Plus, he can hold his head up high and truthfully say to most any software hacker who's exploited one of his products, "I did it first."

Ken Kutaragi
"It's probably too cheap." - Ken Kutaragi, after being quizzed about the price tag of his latest console, the PlayStation 3.

Ken is a genuine dichotomy. Did he simply make a mistake with the PlayStation 3, or did he build himself up to such lofty heights that he had further to fall than most?

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Glancing over his recent history (namely the two previous generations of his console) he appears to have remained impressively consistent with his business approach, ultimately to be let down by an epic marketing blunder. This hasn't stopped the one-man quote machine from standing beside his confused product with nothing less than utter, unswerving loyalty, of course. But Ken is that most perfect and well developed antagonist: His motivation is pure, his purpose just, but his blind dedication has driven him to the dark side. Darth Kutaragi actually has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Pity poor Ken, for he was an undiscovered and unappreciated visionary, hidden deep within the bowels of Sony - put away where he could no longer aggravate the board of directors with unwelcome talk of videogames and the future. Sony didn't have - and didn't want - any part of a future based on toy fads. But Ken had seen the impact Nintendo's Famicom had on his own children. It handcuffed them to the television (a Sony television, mind you) where they would while away blissful hours in imaginary worlds. This was no fad, and Ken wanted in.

When Nintendo came to Sony looking for a new sound chip design, the engineer defied his superiors and worked on the project in secret, secure in the fact that the financial success would vindicate him.

Nintendo, on the other hand, had no such reservations about Kutaragi-san's videogaming abilities, and when it came time to develop a CD-ROM drive for the SNES, it knew exactly who to go to. With the help of a friend at the top, Ken managed to wager his career against the viability of a small venture into game hardware design, and the partnership was struck.

Pity poor Ken, for Nintendo suddenly adopted the Monty Burns business philosophy and slew the friendship demon when the company publicly announced a partnership with Philips, and all development work on the Sony-SNES drive had been scrapped. The engineer's only saving grace was the public humiliation Sony felt after being disrespected by its videogame partner, and Ken was allowed to complete his work: codename Play Station.

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