Feeds

Chris Deering looks back at Sony

Ex-Sony exec dodges PS paternity test

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Chris DeeringTechscape "Sony is like Disney without the devices," Chris Deering told me not long ago.

Known to some as "The Father of the PlayStation", Deering stepped down from Sony recently, where he was president of Sony Europe and chairman/CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). At last count, Sony Europe accounted for 24 per cent of Sony sales globally.

Deering tried to dissuade me that he was really the "father" of the PlayStation.

"Ken Kuteragi is the 'father' for sure. The games business is really about the software."

But Chris Deering is the consumer marketer who made sure the PlayStation (PS) and PSP sold. And it did. Conservative estimates put the rough numbers at more than 75 million PlayStation units (PS-1 and PS-2) sold in Europe yielding an estimated €30bn euros to Sony. Remember, this is Europe alone and does not include the released recently PSP.

A product of the Harvard Business School, Deering worked at Gillette and McKinsey before becoming VP at games software maker Atari. In 1985 became a senior VP at Columbia Pictures. In 1990, Deering became EVP and COO of Columbia/Tristar International, later renamed Sony Pictures Entertainment.

"I was working for Sony Pictures and was introduced to Ken Kuteragi. He told me 'that the games behemoths don't take Europe very seriously; that they milk it through various distribution channels.' So I told him, let me take over the games in Europe."

Kuteragi's next move was to challenge Deering: "Why? You'll never get it over 60 per cent of the US games sales?"

"I thought we could and we eventually did with both PS-1 and PS-2," Deering recalls.

Deering started building "successes from hitchhiking on the Sony Pictures product". Ghostbusters, he says was a "good example of cross-over commercial downstream exploitation."

Can Deering be criticised for creating a gaming phenomenon which takes children away from their parents, leaving them isolated and vulnerable? Or, should he be praised for giving these kids something to do?

"In a generous sense," Deering says, "you could say both are true. But the PlayStation was really just an updated delivery system - kids were playing games long before PS. Look, different countries have different cultural nuances. In Germany for instance, it's not desirable to let guests in your home see a games console under your TV. Games arcades were by bus stations and train stations in dangerous parts of town and games shooting people is not considered a positive thing to bring into the home."

So where and when did things turnaround in gaming?

"I think it started when the educational component sprang to life at the Broderbunds of the world." Deering becomes excited at this point. "'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' was great. I met Doug Carlston (Broderbund founder) and thought he was running a great company."

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.