Sometimes there is no good way to say something to the media. No matter what is said some snarky commentator (like myself) will take it at face value and make fun of it. In the case of the top video game industry’s executives, it could be that they have bad news, and don’t really want to take the blame for it. It could also be that they really want to hype a product, but come off as arrogant. And finally, an executive can sometime just say crazy and/or off-base things that make some wonder if they need to retire from the business. Here is a list of the top dumbest quotes by video game bosses that made them look foolish, in no particular order.
Steve Ballmer on hypothetical new X-Box during the 360 Lifecycle
In a speech at the Executive’s Club of Chicago in 2009, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer (until 2014) claimed that a new version of the Xbox would definitely be on shelves by 2010 – despite the fact that other Microsoft execs had been denying the rumor desperately. Ballmer was later forced to say the following:
“As the Xbox team stated at E3 two weeks ago, we are not even halfway through the current console generation lifecycle and believe Xbox 360 will be the entertainment center in the home for long into the next decade,”
“Project Natal will be an important part of this platform, but we have not confirmed a launch date at this time.”
Oops! Project Natal ended up being the Microsoft Kinect, which was somewhat of a bomb as well.
Peter Moore on the “Red Ring Of Death”
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block for the X-Box 360 was it’s insanely high failure rate. I recall when working for a big box retailer, having hundreds of them come back in so often that we had to get training to do repairs on them at one point. Taking the potential PR disaster into account, stuff like this DIOD NOT help.
“I can’t comment on failure rates, because it’s just not something – it’s a moving target. What this consumer should worry about is the way that we’ve treated him. Y’know, things break, and if we’ve treated him well and fixed his problem, that’s something that we’re focused on right now. I’m not going to comment on individual failure rates because I’m shipping in 36 countries and it’s a complex business.”
Sony’s Thomas Hesse on rootkits included on CDs and other media:
“Most people, I think, don’t even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?”
Sony’s Peter Dille on the fight between PSP and the DS:
“You can look at the software that they sell. All their licensed kid stuff. So, what we’re doing with the PlayStation Portable is really establishing a new marketplace, and establishing, frankly, a new beachhead.”
Not too long after this, they announced a purple Hannah Montana PSP at the same press conference.
Phil Harrison on the Nintendo DS:
“The idea of a handheld rivalry with Nintendo is an irrelevance. Those formats don’t appear in our planning. It’s not a fair comparison; not fair on them, I should stress. That sounds arrogant, maybe, but it’s the truth. With the DS , it’s fair to say that Nintendo stepped out of the technical race and went for a feature differentiation with the touch screen. But I fear that it won’t have a lasting impact beyond that of a gimmick – so the long-lasting appeal of the platform is at peril as a direct result of that.”
Nintendo has dominated Sony in the handheld market since just after this interview was done.
Kaz Harai on Gimmicks:
“We’re certainly not interested in Gimmicks.”
This was literally seconds before Sony unveiled the game “Eye of Judgement”, a game that uses a camera and collectible cards, at E3 2006.
Satoru Iwata on “what customers want”:
“Customers do not want online games.”
With the success of online gaming today, this declaration sounds ridiculous.
Hiroshi Yamauchi on RPG gamers:
“[People who play RPGs are] depressed gamers who like to sit alone in their dark rooms and play slow games,”
This was said in a 1999 interview. Yamauchi, went on to say that RPGs are “silly and boring.”
Nice generalization sir!
Peter Moore says something pretentious:“
“Then we explained the Xbox 360 as a living entertainment experience powered by human energy that revolves around you and makes you at the center of your experience and people were like [snaps fingers]… ‘I get that.’
Former Nintendo chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi on graphics:
“I have been saying this for some time, but customers are not interested in grand games with higher-quality graphics and sound and epic stories. Only people who do not know the videogame business would advocate the release of next-generation machines when people are not interested in cutting-edge technologies.”
“Krazy Ken’s” greatest hits (and misses)!
Ken Kutaragi is the former chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, perhaps his biggest claim to fame were the insane things he would say during press conferences. Because it was hard to pick one that did this man justice, I decided to show a wide array of Ken Kutaragi’s Ken-isms to round out the list.
- “We want for consumers to think to themselves, ‘I will work more hours to buy one.” — in regards to criticism of the inaugural PS3 price.
- “I’m not worried. Good luck, … the center of gravity.”
- “The PS3 is not a game machine. We’ve never once called it a game machine…With the PS3, our intentions have been to create a machine with supercomputer calculation capabilities for home entertainment.”
- “The PS3 will instill discipline in our children and adults alike. Everyone will know discipline.”
- “You can communicate to a new cybercity. This will be the ideal home server. Did you see the movie The Matrix? Same interface. Same concept. Starting from next year, you can jack into The Matrix!“
- “If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that’s been on store shelves for more than five minutes, I’ll give you 1,200 bucks for it.” — on PS3s sitting on store shelves mere months after launch
- “I would like my car to fly and make me breakfast, but that’s an unrealistic expectation.” — on PlayStation 3’s backward compatibility issues
- “The name of the game is not market share, it’s how fast we (Sony) can grow the industry.”
- “Microsoft shoots for the moon. Sony shoots for the sun.”
Note: This is a slightly edited version of an article I posted on a now-defunct gaming website called Gamrfeed (in around 2010) that I wrote, as with some of this videogame-related stuff I am posting it again to preserve it. I always figure that some of this could be of some value to my new readers.