The son of a wealthy banker, Kazuo Hirai was born in 1964 in Tokyo, Japan and graduated from the International Christian University in August of 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. His interest in games brought Hirai into the entertainment business where he was hired at the then newly formed CBS/Sony Inc. which later became Sony Music Entertainment after earning his degree. Hirai rose through the ranks in Sony where he became the head of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan's international business affairs office.
Kazuo Hirai joined Sony Computer Entertainment America in August of 1995 and has since played an instrumental role in the Playstation's success. Hirai used cross promotion of the Playstation brand that took its advertising to mainstream sports events such as the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and NASCAR which attributed greatly to the introduction video games and the Playstation brand to large numbers of people who may not have ordinarily considered purchasing a video game console.
Hirai has attributed much of his business success to being able to travel with his father around Japan, the United States and Canada and was made vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment's corporate executive group on July 1, 2006. Nineteen days after the launch of the Playstation 3, Kazuo Hirai replaced Ken Kutaragi as President and COO of Sony Computer Entertainment on November 30, 2006 while Kutaragi was promoted to Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Upon Kutaragi's retirement on April 2006 to take the role of Honorary Chairman, Kazuo Hirai was promoted to Chairman and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc effectively replacing Ken Kutaragi.In early 2009, Sony shifted some of its divisions around. Kaz Hirai is now overseeing a new division that oversees the PlayStation and Vaio PCs. The shake-up in Sony was result of it's sliding profits and Sony's hope to create a more "united" company.
- "Some have said that the PSP is our answer to the (Nintendo) Game Boy. Well, here’s how we view the world: PSP will elevate portable entertainment out of the handheld gaming ghetto and Sony is the only company that can do it. We happily accept this challenge and, dare I say it, the baton has been passed."
- "We're not interested in gimmicks, clever rhetoric or conventional thinking."
- "The next generation doesn't start until we say it does."
- "It's Ridge Racer!... Riiiiiiiiiiidge Raaaaaaaaceeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrr!"
- “It's hard to tell at this point in time. Even at our first-party studios we're putting the finishing touches on the games. I'd rather delay a game by a week or two then rush stuff out there.”
- “We have always attempted to do things differently. Our vision has taken us to unprecedented levels of success and innovation. Just keeping up with conventional technology is not enough for us.”
- “Like the Internet, the PS2 is a very open model. If there is no revenue, there is no royalty. We leave it up to the publishers.”
- “All of us at Sony Computer Entertainment have been waiting a long time for this moment,”
- “When we launch the system, we envision it's going to be a small percentage [of consumers] that will actually take advantage.”
- “We didn't want it to be seen as a competitor to the other handheld gaming devices in the market. We wanted to offer consumers a completely new world, as we did with PlayStation and PlayStation 2. So we looked at what would be the right value proposition to consumers in North America and decided including all these accessories... plus the demo disk and [the ability] to enjoy 'Spider-Man' out of the box was the best value proposition.”
- "...and we'll be partnering with AT&T as the exclusive carrier for Playstation Vita in the United States."