"HOW many people came for video games?" asks a keynote presenter at Sony Corp's PlayStation bash in Las Vegas last December. The crowd roars. "And how many came to give Shu Yoshida a hug?" The roar gets even louder.
The man in question is an unlikely celebrity. Short and bespectacled, the 50-year-old Shuhei Yoshida is president of Sony's worldwide game studios. What he's done to draw such affection is champion some of the biggest hits in the business and prove people will pay US$70 for top-notch titles even in a world with thousands of free smartphone games.
In the process, he's helped chief executive officer Kazuo Hirai steer Sony toward a surprising turnaround. The company's games business...