His career started at Atari where he worked initially in the coin-op arcade division and eventually moved over to the home division being in charge of platforms like Atari Lynx. Before the US release of the PlayStation game console, Sony made Stolar the first president of SCEA and in charge of the PlayStation platform. Stolar ruled with an iron fist and forced some unpopular policies with regard to titles licensed including a "no-RPG" policy seeing as RPGs at the time were almost all 2D, didn't sell well in North America and in his opinion failed to show the power of the PlayStation in a positive light.
After the first holiday season in the US the PlayStation was a success selling well. Bernie was then offered the opportunity to leave Sony and take the helm at Sega of America managing the Sega Saturn. Stolar while not as strict with licensing policies at Sega as he was at Sony decided against bringing over many of the most popular Saturn titles citing limited appeal in North America and failure to show off the Saturn in as positive of a light as possible as reasoning. As the Saturn continued to struggle in North America, Stolar pressed for Sega to develop a new platform which would eventually become the Dreamcast. While Stolar left the company a month prior to the US release of the system, Stolar is infamously credited by many Sega fans, for helping kill the Saturn prematurely in favor of developing the Dreamcast.
Stolar is fondly remembered for his "Saturn is not our future." remark in the 1997 E3 not to mention his "There is no more Tekken." line during a TV interview (which followed after Namco confirmed supporting Sega's console starting with Soul Calibur). The Tekken line was also Stolar's stab against Sony and its next generation plans, although Namco confirmed later that the PlayStation 2 will be getting Tekken games exclusively.
Aside from that, there were insider reports that he actually went against his Japanese superiors by pricing the Dreamcast with a launch price of $199 (which he unveiled in a speech in early 1999, to standing ovation). Reportedly, Sega Japan wanted to price the DC at $249 in order to be very profitable right from the start. Right before the Dreamcast's American launch in 1999, Stolar was fired from Sega. Apparently, he and and then CEO of Sega Isao Okawa had a falling out and eventually "we had parting of the ways." He received a US$5 million severance package from Sega.
In 2005, Stolar became an advisor and director at Adscape Media, an in-game advertising company. He then served as Google's Game Evangelist when Google acquired Adscape a year later. He assumed the role of Lead Director of Oasys Mobile, Inc. in 2006 as well.
Bernie Stolar died in June 2022 at the age of 75.
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