Ken Kutaragi to retire in June

Sony Computer Entertainment chairman and CEO announces plans to step down to "pass the torch on to the new generation."

1209 Comments

Ken Kutaragi, the 56-year-old "Father of the PlayStation," will end an era by retiring from his position as Sony Computer Entertainment chairman and CEO at the company's annual shareholders' meeting on June 19.

In a shocking announcement, Sony has revealed that the decision was made so that Kutaragi could "pass the torch on to the next generation," and so that he can "pursue his dreams beyond PlayStation and accelerate his network vision."

Taking over his position will be current SCEI president and COO Kazuo Hirai, who will be promoted to president and CEO.

Kutaragi commented, "I am happy to graduate from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. after introducing four platforms to the PlayStation family. It has been an exciting experience to change the world of computer entertainment by marrying cutting-edge technologies with creative minds from all over the world. I'm looking forward to building on this vision in my next endeavours."

He will continue to "support" Sony Corporation chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer as a senior technology adviser for the company, along with serving as an honorary chairman of SCEI.

Kutaragi started his career at Sony immediately after graduation from the Tokyo University of Electro-Communications, and during the course of his long career at the company, he invented and launched the original PlayStation in 1994 and the PlayStation 2 in 2000.

However, during a management shake-up in 2005, Kutaragi was demoted from the Board of Directors and replaced as head of the home electronics division. Last year, another Sony reshuffle promoted Kutaragi from SCEI president and group CEO into the position of chairman and group CEO.

Stringer described Kutaragi as "a rare combination of a powerful visionary and entrepreneur." He added, "Not only has he created a multibillion-dollar business for the Sony Group, he has brought the industry into a new dimension. Sony has benefited tremendously from his vision, his creative genius, and from the very strong team he assembled and nurtured. As Ken moves forward to pursue new opportunities, we will encourage and support him. My support also goes to Kazuo Hirai, who is a terrific executive with a proven track record with PlayStation business in the US. I am confident that he will inspire and lead SCEI to new heights."

While Stringer's latest words were particularly glowing toward Kutaragi upon news of his departure, the Sony CEO didn't always have kind words for him. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Stringer hinted at problems with Kutaragi, calling the Japanese executive "uncommunicative."

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Cypher_VR

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You're Fired.

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theKSMM

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Kutaragi not only put Sony on the gaming map, he put them in the catbird seat. Unfortunately, the gaffes leading into the launch of the PS3 were large and allowed Sony's competitors to get good head starts in this seventh generation of consoles. Whether or not Sony can ever catch up or recover remains to be seen.

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interpolred

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Good luck to him in all his future endeavors.

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Cypher_VR

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Good night, sweet prince.

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DeadXRooster

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I couldn't imagine nintendo, while enjoying their new found success, hiring Sony's sloppy seconds. "Hey Ken, since your done f''ing up the the PS3, would you come to nintendo and sabotage the Wii, its doing too good, we need to kill it!!!"

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j_vega07

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I know I posted this earlier on the other story, but anybody knows if it is true that Nintendo is Hiring Kutaragi ??? just a rumor so don't go crazy fanboys.

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DeadXRooster

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its kinda scary that the PS3 version of FEAR is choppy and ugly. If it can't render a 2 year-old pc game well. What else can it not do? Microsoft just buy Sony and fix this mess

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Yuck_Too

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Graduated...Expelled...I guess it's the same difference to some.

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toesterctoe

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Anthony9000, I think what you might not be familiar with is japanese culture. They tend to respect their elders, try to keep people employed for a long as possible. But yes I agree. They probably should have gotten someone else to do a better job. On the other hand, he's just a figure head anyway. Doesnt' matter if they say he's in charge. Everyone else in sony makes the rest of the decisions anyway.

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darkzerogamer

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Nice way of saying "he got fired."

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Anthony9000

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sony just plain sucks...look at how old this guy is...and he owns a gaming company? ummmmm...no offence but he should've been kiked out 20 years ago when he didnt mess up on anything.....yet.....

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rad_2xl

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He screwed up BAD with Sony PS3. Got a wee bit too arrogant.

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horioricorious

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its not a freaking school.

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TTDog

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"7thRonin: He is still at Sce he just kind of step down... and hes already on the work with the ps4" Then expect it to cost $3000 and the life of your firstborn child, after the mess he made of the PS3 I'd be wary of letting him go near the coffee machine for fear he'd try and force additional hardware into the system.

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7thRonin

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He is still at Sce he just kind of step down... << LINK REMOVED >> and hes already on the work with the ps4

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protek_0813

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can we all just get along.......?

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Ottothebobcat

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Here's to him ruining some other company! Huzzah!

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waraga

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i salute to you for your honour to sony good luck ken

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DiscGuru101

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-Graduated? Yeah right. Try "put aside".

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Pyrosa

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With the non-stop mistakes he made throughout the PS3's development, release, and initial sales, I'm glad he finally [likely forcibly]"stepped down". Good riddance -- consider it proof that you can't ride yesterday's achievements forever.

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ax23000

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"the gaming industry would still be considered a 'kids past time'." Arguably it still IS considered a kid's past time by and far. I don't want to outright dismiss the credit Sony does deserve for widening out the market, but I think sometimes people go to far. Sony DID open up the market more towards middle aged men then it had been before, but the fact is they still skew towards the twenty something male crowd. Arguably it's been Nintendo who's done the most work to make people look at video games as something not just for kids, which is ironic when you consider that within the industry they are considered the most "kiddy" of all the companies. Still with both the DS and the Wii and games like Brain Age, Nintendogs, and Wii Sports Nintendo has been the one to get people who weren't raised on video games to actually look at them as something worthwhile. Mind you I don't even think Nintendo has really succeeded yet, as most of their games STILL skew to a younger audience. My point isn't that Nintendo should get all the credit instead of Sony, but that it is a progression that continues even today and that all three companies have been and continue to be a part of.

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smoothn00dle

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@Yuck_Foo it is rude to tell others wrong without stating the reason. Howard Stringer is good. Ken Kutaragi is bad. A white knight came to the land of east and save the day. Here goes the script of all major media singing. When Howard Stringer first became Sony US executive he fired 10000 people and close 21 factories. In the same time, Ken Kutaragi's SCE hiring people with record profit. He still firing people today. This time is Ken's SCE division. Ken refused and quit. Howard wasn't doing a good job at managing the battery recall last year. The problem was he wasn't there. His so call Sony United strategy, a plan make Sony more American. Sony Japan will resist for sure. If Howard want to break down the barrier, he should live in Japan, Sony headquarter, spend more time with his Japanese counterpart instead living there in a hotel for a few days at a time. Who is not communicative here? It is unfair to just credit Howard Stringer for Sony's turnaround. It is a collective effort of Sony. Bravia LCD TV make it big today is because the join venture with Samsung and years of research, come at the right time. Howard is a lucky guy but luck will run out. Even luckier for him, Howard is CEO of Sony, the company will protect him from falling.

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darkdragonmage9

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Sony_FanBoy you know the more people bring that up the more i wanna correct them. the playstation wasn't his idea it was nintendos idea in fact if nintendo didn't back out of the deal you'd all be praising them right now intead of kutaragi. for that matter if they didn't back out of the deal with sony. sony wouldn't even be in the gaming bis to start with.

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Sony_FanBoy

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Ken Kutaragi was the best thing to happen to the Gaming Industry. I know the MS and Nintendo fanboys are going to speak against this, but I don't care. If it was not for Ken Kutaragi and his Playstation ideas, the gaming industry would still be considered a "kids past time".

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darkdragonmage9

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@ Bballplaya8217 I know my grammer sucks. I also know if you can't attack the point attack the person. Thats just what you did so i guess you think i'm right. Oh by the way atleast I'm smart enough to see these things for what they are. Instead of listening to my fanboyisim and saying the ps3 is the best thing sense sliced bread. @ others Sega made the first console with built in internet connection. Also I might add the ps2 was the third rate system last gen. The dreamcast and the xbox both had more power they failed not because they were inferior but because one was to ahead of it's time and the other came out too late to really make a diffence.

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Yuck_Too

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TTDog is correct. 1992, Wolfenstien (not Return to Castle...) for PC was the first person shooter with smooth movement...followed by DOOM with 4-player network play. Some may even remember Heretic which involved the ability to aim and fly up and down (instead of straight shooting) for the first time.

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Imconfused2007

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That must really suck, making a mistake monumental enough to cause your retirement.

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TTDog

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"dekomania; Microsoft made fps with halo? Have you ever played GOLDENEYE on N64??? " I always though Wolfenstein on PC was the first FPS.

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dekomania

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EARLLOVINGS31 Somini "Everyone should appreciate Ken for being one of the most influential people ever when it comes to the videogame industry, he's right up there along with people like Kojima-san and Miyamoto-san. If it wasn't for Kutaragi-san, we wouldn't have the gaming industry that we have today, and that's the truth" You couldnt be more.............................WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! was kutaragi-san back making games in 85 when the gaming world was soooooo close to not even existing....NO that was miyamoto-san. he was 34 when he had his first system on the market, 9 years after miyamoto already released 2. and now that the ps3 is totally being pwnd 11 yrs later by the 360/Wii he "retires"..... ha more like he bailed out and let kaz run the sinking ship that is sony. good ridence. o yea and to all the sony fanboys.......................... miyamoto made gaming what it is today with mario, link, dk, and samus. sony made hi-def graphics what it is today with a $600 paper weight. microsoft made fps with halo 1 and 2. kutaragi didnt make gaming what it is today miyamoto made an almost non-existant thing like video games what they are today. nuf said. Check yourself boy. Nintendo did save the industie. Sony made it what it is totday. Microsoft did nothing except offer good online experiece wich I had for years on my PC. So nothing new there... Microsoft made fps with halo? Have you ever played GOLDENEYE on N64??? I gess not! Think if you would have your Wii/360 if Sony wasen't around. I don't think so. Nintendo saved the industry, Sony pushed it to what it is today. Not Nintendo, not Sega, and sourly not Microsoft. On PS3 will come back within a year. Then people will trully see if it's a R.I.P.case or it will be beating the competition like monkeys :). Every self respected gamer should be thanking Sony for what they brouth to industry just as they should Nintendo and Sega.

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jonbob0008

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What happened with Ken is almost exactly what happened to the creator of the Game Boy. I for get the name of the man who invented the game boy, but I do know that he fell from grace at Nintendo when he brought out the Virtual Boy. The console was such a disaster that he got demoted and eventually left Nintendo to pursue projects on his own. Sadly, he died a few years ago in a car crash. While no one in their right mind would say that the PS3 was as bad as the Virtual Boy, you can definitely see the parallels in their stories.

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wenbin09

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he's really a great man to bring so much competition to the gaming industry, thus, pushing the gaming standards to an all new heights!

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Bballplaya8217

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for you slow people out there what me and daniel are geting at here it's not a good thing to be ahead of your time or to cost to much it's been proven you learn from the past so you don't make the same mistakes what Kutaragi did with the ps3 is repeated the same mistakes of his competitors that gave him the leade in the first place that is why he retired Thanks for cramming all of your thoughts into paragraphs. Learn some grammar. I seriously had to read parts over to understand them. And, he was either asked to leave, or decided to retire. Whether Sony made a mistake or not, the guys 59, he deserves to retire, even if he makes mistakes. Oh and thanks for calling everybody slow but crunching your thoughts into a sentence.

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willripyouanew1

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He wanted to get out long ago I, you know why ? 'cuse he dint have as much power as he once did and his huge ego and Japanese pride wont allow him to stay another gosh darn day.

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DeadXRooster

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Sony answered back to Microsoft with an identically spec'd console a year late, with a B.R disc player which just confuses the average movie watcher. Someone inside Sony was trying to figure out a way to push the B.R format onto the marketplace. Good plan, dumbasses. Solution: pull the B.R drives from the PS3 and release a cheaper version with a standard SATA drive and get back on track. Game developers aren't gonna give away more game content for the same price just because the space is available.

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Yuck_Too

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--smoothn00dle -- Dude...you really should look up some things before you comment...you are so wrong on so many levels. First the best thing that happened to Sony in a long time was Stringer. Before him almost every single division of Sony EXCEPT the PS2 was losing money. Now it's the exact opposite in that almost every single division of Sony is making money except the PS3. He should have stepped in harder earlier but you cannot really blame him for how things went. Also Sega had CD capability before Sony was even in the console business. You have to give credit where it's due not just spout what you wish was true.

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GhostyMcboo

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Good, maybe his successor will make descisions like "Keep the players happy" or "make a system that is easy for developers who don't have a billion dollars to put towards making a game" Plus bonus descisions like "under 500 dollars at launch" Thanks, Kenny Ken. PS was nice, PS2 was gold, PS3.....no comment. Oh, and S_King: "The real test for Sony is making a successful Playstation 4 which i think they will start researching much earlier than they did with the PS3." I thought making a PS3 was the real test for Sony....why would we wait another 5 years on potetntial greatness alone? I just did that and I am thoroughly disappointed.

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bureksasutlijom

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Thank you sir and farewell!

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GamePro007

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funny how this article did not mention the recent poor perfromance of kutaragi. ie, letting the company go an additional billion dollars in debt from the ps3. so he is being repacled in an effort to turn the company around now. but dont take my word for it, check it out at the wall street journal.

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smoothn00dle

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@darkdragonmage9 "PS shifting polygons in 3D worlds instead of manipulating the 2D graphics that had defined previous generations of videogames." I know why u think Nintendo start 3d first but obviously u don't know this topic deep enough. Nintendo and Saturn use 2D graphics 3D.

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s_king7

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I would just like to also congratulate this man and hope for a greater future for him in what ever he is to do. And to all those saying that Sony will flop or the Playstation 3 is going to flop then you have got something obviously wrong with your head. A company like Sony did not rely only on Ken with the PS3 even with the PS1 and PS2 they would be crazy. so thinking that the new system will be a flop just because he is not going to be around as much you are just being narrow minded and not thinking outside the box. The real test for Sony is making a successful Playstation 4 which i think they will start researching much earlier than they did with the PS3. Think before you post STUPID comments but check the PS3 this time next year or like EA said judge it in 2 years time Good Luck Kenu Kutaragi

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TTDog

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He did great things with the PS1 and PS2 but got really arrogant with the PS3... "People will buy it even without games" isn't the most humble statement to make when you're announcing a new console at an inflated price tag. As darkdragonmage9 said you learn from the past, such as Microsoft have learnt from the mistakes they made on the original Xbox, whereas Sony seem to be on a quest to duplicate mistakes made by other consoles in the past. As for Lair, being HD only won't help its sales and having seen a preview this last weekend the camera looked dreadful in the flying sections and I'm probably less impressed than I was before.

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darkdragonmage9

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for you slow people out there what me and daniel are geting at here it's not a good thing to be ahead of your time or to cost to much it's been proven you learn from the past so you don't make the same mistakes what Kutaragi did with the ps3 is repeated the same mistakes of his competitors that gave him the leade in the first place that is why he retired

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daniel665

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Sega satrun was more powerful then the ps as it had two core processor but looked what happened. Developers could not use the power due to pc's/consoles being one core and did not want to spend the time it takes learn because they could just release games on the ps and pc. RING ANY BELLS. LAIR IS A BIT LIKE NIGHTS IN A SuRIAL SORT OF A WAY. GREAT LOOKING FLYING GAME but how many people will be ps3 owners to beable to buy it.

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darkdragonmage9

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i'd like to point out something the dreamcast was the best console of last generation technology wis the best console of the time of the snes was in fact the neo geo why did those 2 things fail simple cost and lack of games what is wrong with that picture i'll let you decide

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darkdragonmage9

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smoothn00dle it was nintendo idea and oh yeah the game that really started the 3d craze was also from nintendo if your going to point out things make sure your right

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Mangafan2

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He firstly got canned from his position and now he's retirering. Something tells me people wanted him gone @ Sony's palace XD

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smbius

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Thanks for the memories Kutaragi-san

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smoothn00dle

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@xbox360istruth You are funny. D.O.A. Xbox360 is D.O.F(Dead on Future)

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smoothn00dle

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@EARLLOVINGS31 You have repeat what every major western internet media said for the past few days. Do u have your own analysis? Ken Kutaragi is one of the greatest console icon. He changed console from outdate hardware to full 3d, Cd base hardware. Therefore, he change the experience of console gaming forever. Ken provided a new platform for games like FFVII, Metal Gear Solid series, ICO, Rez, Devil may cry, God of War series, Party games otherwise they wouldn't exist today.

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WarriorsDoom

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EARLLOVINGS31 "microsoft made fps with halo 1 and 2." yeah... you can ignore all the earlier, and superior fps games on PC if you like. Fanboys dont need facts. Never mind that Unreal Tournament was out a whole year earlier. Not even mencioning Doom, the game that REALLY made fps. (which was made before the xbox even existed) Or mencioning UT2k4, which is better than either halo. So really, xbox hasn't done anything.

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