When Sony Computer Entertainment first established its flagship PlayStation brand in 1993, its executives’ chief concern was making sure the company’s first offices were located in an area with late-night bars. At least that’s the story Ken Kutaragi, who’s widely known as father of the PlayStation, told Bandai Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada on the latter’s new YouTube show, Harada’s Bar.
“We started in Aoyama-Itchōme,” Kutaragi explained to Harada, filling the Tekken director in on some video game history. “The reason why we chose that as an office was because we wanted to drink together.”
The main Sony office at the time, Kutaragi said, was in an area of Tokyo’s Shinagawa ward where the watering holes all closed at 8 p.m. So when it came time to open the first Sony Computer Entertainment location, he and his associates thought it might be best to find a “sleepless city” in which they could take folks from other companies out for drinks. Aoyoma, a neighbourhood in the nearby Minato ward, ended up being that place.
In addition to Sony proper, Sony Computer Entertainment had another parent company in Sony Music Entertainment Japan. According to Kutaragi, the subsidiary would often throw huge, celebratory parties with recording artists that stretched past midnight. As such, the video game executives grew fond of the tradition and wanted to bring it over to their fledgling business.
Harada even recalls Kutaragi gifting the Tekken team with an expensive bottle of sake every time they shipped a game. He got so used to the treatment, apparently, that he was surprised when they didn’t receive any liquor from Microsoft after the launch of 2007’s Tekken 6, the first game in the series to grace an Xbox platform.
Harada’s conversation with Kutaragi also covers some neat moments in their shared history as well as discussion of current trends in technology like artificial intelligence and robotics. Check it out if you’re interested in two gaming legends having a nice chat in a bar.