Sony Computer Entertainment founder dies

Former Sony president and chairman Norio Ohga passes away in Tokyo at age 81; oversaw establishment of game arm in 1993.


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Former Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Ken Kutaragi is best known as the "Father of the PlayStation." However, it was onetime Sony president, chairman, and CEO Norio Ohga who, in 1993, founded a new arm for the company called Sony Computer Entertainment. Until he quasi-retired in 2000, he helped oversee the division's growth and birthing of the PlayStation brand.

Sadly, Sony has announced Ohga died of multiple organ failure in Tokyo at age 81 on Saturday, April 23. His death came following a decades-long career at Sony during which he helped oversee the creation of CBS/Sony Records--now Sony Music Entertainment--in 1968. He became president of the division in 1970.

Former Sony Corp. president, chairman, and CEO Norio Ohga (1930-2011).
Former Sony Corp. president, chairman, and CEO Norio Ohga (1930-2011).

A classically trained baritone singer, he also helped create the CD format in the late 1970s, insisting its length be 75 minutes--long enough to hold Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety. Sony released the world's first CD in 1982, the year Ohga became Sony Corp. president. Within years, the format superseded vinyl records and cassettes as the top musical medium. Later in the 1990s, he would oversee the launch of the much less successful Minidisc (pictured).

Ohga also helped shepherd Sony's transformation from an electronics manufacturer into a global multimedia giant. Besides the Sony Music deal, he oversaw the purchase of Columbia Pictures in 1989, giving the company a large presence in the motion picture industry. He also helped develop the modern home video market by popularizing the DVD format in the 1990s.

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