Late last week, we ran a rumour that said Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Technical Officer Izumi Kawanishi had been shuffled out of SCEI and is now working for Sony Corporate. We contacted Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment of America and Sony Computer Entertainment of Europe. All refused to comment. Odd, because this seems something that could be addressed rather easily if Kawanishi was still at the company. (Then again, he still might!) Since Kawanishi had worked on the PS2, the PSP and the PS3, he was obviously a key team member and important to SCEI's past successes. We've gotten more details from insiders about the power struggle that supposedly went down.
Word is that Kawanishi was mad at Kaz Hirai for reducing PS3 features. Take the new 40GB PLAYSTATION 3, which doesn't have backwards compatibility. The friction between the two didn't start there: Previously, Kawanishi was "gunning" for the CEO position when Ken Kutaragi left the post. Apparently, when Hirai became the CEO, Kawanishi was not happy about the decision. Now, whether Kawanishi has simply been reassigned or left by his own accord isn't known. Another thing, if Kawanishi has in fact left SCEI, who is heading up the company's R&D? Certainly, SCEI has many capable employees, but someone like Kawanishi can't be replaced overnight.