Chairman: Ken Kutargi
A surprising choice? Get out of it. Who better to take the reigns of our entire operation than the true ‘father’ of the most successful series of consoles in history?
Just on the software side, this is a man who oversaw the biggest boom in Sony’s first-party games, launching classic franchises like Wipeout, Gran Turismo and God Of War.
And his vision didn’t stop there. Kutaragi steered Sony to ‘discover’ casual gaming on console – with the likes of SingStar, EyeToy and Buzz – when Nintendo was still pushing cartoons to the core. And that little genre never went anywhere, did it?
Then, of course, there’s his knowledge of the hardware market: When to pull out of support for a format, what stage in a lifecycle to release your big hitters, that sort of thing. You know, the stuff that makes or breaks publishers.
Sony has politely just pushed him out the door – with whispers that it was personal relationships as much as PlayStation 3’s slow start, that saw him ousted. He may well feel he has something left to prove.
In for a second feature: Kaz Hirai (Sony), Saturo Iwata (Nintendo), Hayao Nakayama (Sega)
CEO: John Riccitiello (EA)
Fierce, smart, aggressive. Riccitiello would be a perfect angry foil to Kutaragi’s worldwide reputation as a Jolly Good Fellow. This ‘good cop/bad cop’ one-two would see Riccitiello’s ruthless thirst for success sit snugly with Kutaragi: one of the few people the notoriously strong-headed boss might bow down to.
Riccitiello’s true talent is spotting a company’s weakness and turning it around – witness the marked difference in EA’s review scores recently. Also, he’s no stranger to getting what he wants, whatever the cost – as Bioware and Pandemic know all too well.
In for a second feature: Bobby Kotick (Activision Blizzard), Brian Farrell (THQ), Simon Jeffery (Sega)
CFO: Thomas Tippl (Activision Blizzard)
The even-tempered Austrian knows how to make tough decisions well: look no further than his super-cool handling of the merger between Vivendi and Activision.
Tippl has overseen one of the most successful fiscal periods in Activision history. Under his stewardship, Activision – a company that was slipping in the publishing charts just two years ago, don’t forget – reported a $344.9 million net profit for the 12 months to March 31st this year, up from $85.8 million in FY 2006-2007. And it’s aiming even higher this year. Sounds like the man for the job to us.
In for a second feature: Warren Jenson (EA), Alain Martinez (Ubisoft), Yoshihiro Mori (Nintendo)
Global Sales Director: Ian Curran (THQ)
Who better to look after the tough job of getting our product into stores than the man who’s ensured that THQ’s annual revenues top $1bn in recent years?
A former sales director at Acclaim, we’re sure that it would cost us a pretty penny to get Curran – a homegrown talent who now has worldwide responsibility at THQ – to ‘lower’ himself back down to a ‘mere’ sales director role. But as a man who’s never backed away from a challenge, we reckon we might just be able to tempt him.
In for a second feature: Gary Dale (Rockstar), Alain Corre (Ubisoft), Bernie Stolar (Google)
Global Marketing Director: Reggie Fils-Aime (Nintendo)
Even more so than Ian Curran, Nintendo’s US boss (the ‘Regginator’) would take some coaxing to come back to a marketing director role. But this is our fantasy publisher list, right? So ya boo sucks and all that.
He’s enjoyed huge success with the unfancied DS – which has gone on to sell around 80 million units worldwide. And when he took over the big role, he faced the ridicule of rivals for the (then) laughably named Wii. Who’s laughing now, hey Reg? Welcome aboard.
In for a second feature: Peter Moore (EA Sports), Scott Steinberg (Sony), David Gardner (Atari)
Head Of Internal Development: Phil Harrison (Atari)
The tall genius pulled the strings in the backrooms in Sony’s glory years, and teaming him back together with Ken Kutaragi would be sure to produce some fireworks. He also doubles up as a nifty PR man, assisting the communications team and quickly becoming a ‘face’ of the company.
As well as all of his first-party software success, Harrison’s move to Atari indicates he’s really got his eye on the future of digital and online product. Of course, Atari hasn’t exactly announced anything concrete in this area yet – but we’re inclined to believe that if Phil says it’s cutting edge… it’s cutting edge.
In for a second feature: Hideo Kojima (Konami), Dan Houser (Rockstar), Seabass (Konami)
Head Of External Development: David DeMartini (EA)
The man who heads up EA Partners has done a sterling job of turning John Riccitiello’s new caring, sharing approach to external studios into a reality. The EA that was blamed for ‘crushing’ the likes of Bullfrog has gone under an amazing PR turnaround, and DeMartini’s track record suggests he’d be able to coax the world’s best on board. He’s attracted the likes of Crytek, Valve, Harmonix, Epic Games, iD and Grasshopper to have a relationship with the Redwood publisher, leaving EA in an enviable position
In for a second feature: Tom Stone (Warner Bros), Michael Denny (Sony), Shane Kim (Microsoft)
Creative Director: Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo)
As every publisher in the world looks to crack a new IP that can pull in both the hardcore and family audiences, why not turn to the man who’s been doing just that for decades? From Mario to Wii Fit, Donkey Kong to Zelda, ‘Shigsy’ has proved time and time again he has the ability to create quirky characters that wheedle their way into the hearts of gamers (and non-gamers) everywhere. He also plays a mean banjo, which would be a must at every Christmas party.
In for a second feature: Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Q! Entertainment), Suda 51 (Grasshopper), Will Wright (EA)
To read who we’d employ in our European office, click here for the second part of our trio of special features.