Chapter Eternal: Legend in video gaming industry, Bernie Stolar ’68 – UCLA
Bernie Stolar, former top executive at Atari, Sony Computer Entertainment, and Sega of America, passed into the Chapter Eternal on June 22, 2022.
Pioneer in the video gaming industry
Stolar began his gaming career as an arcade game entrepreneur before moving on to Atari and landing the job as president.
He left for Sony where he oversaw the launch and the original line-up of games for the upstart PlayStation, which became one of the most successful game consoles of all time.
“Bernie was larger than life. At the time, PlayStation was nothing, but he came in with his larger-than-life attitude that said PlayStation was going to be something. He told us that we needed to make games for Sony.”
– Rob Dyer, COO Capcom
As president of Sega of America, he launched the Dreamcast gaming platform. Despite a solid performance in the U.S. and a fanbase that still reveres it, it was discontinued in 2001 after losing to the PlayStation 2 in international markets.
Stolar left Sega and continued to work in a variety of entertainment software ventures for the next 17 years, including Google, who bought a company where he was an advisor and board member.
He tried to use Google’s platform and expanding reach to advance the growing online gaming industry, but he was before his time. He said in an interview, “There was no interest in games at Google at the time.”
His impact on those around him
Besides occupying undergraduates time for thousands of hours of enjoyment, Bernie touched many lives, personally and professionally.
“I had many opportunities to work with Bernie over the years in the gaming business. I got to interview him and be interviewed by him and each and every time found him fun but professional, driven and competitive. Bernie had a rough and tumble New York reputation, but I found him affable. His presence in the games business is well cemented and his influence on generations of game developers and games will be felt for a long time to come.”
– Hal Halpin, FL Delta Upsilon, ’92
“There are many who owe their career in video games to him, as he was able to identify talent and break out their careers as they went on to do great things. He left his mark in the video games business and touched many around him. My family and I felt that friendship always and I shall be forever grateful for that.”
– Rod Cousens, the former CEO at Acclaim, Codemasters, and Jagex
At the end of his career Stolar said, “I’ve been doing this since 1980. I love this business. I love it because I get to work with people who are young and passionate. I’m one of the old gray-haired guys in the industry, but it’s wonderful to work with all this young talent.”