Industry veteran Michael Ephraim has left PlayStation.
To this day, I have no idea how STACK got invited to a PlayStation dinner in Los Angeles with the EB Games buying team, but in 2007 that’s exactly what happened.
E3 was in full swing and, never one to turn down the opportunity of free food and alcohol, the director of STACK and I bundled into a private room of a high-end restaurant.
Michael Ephraim was there, sitting with an entourage of PlayStation staff that has long since departed. Michael clearly had no idea who these two rambunctious English lads were as we incessantly assailed the rest of the Sony assemblage to place ads in STACK.
But Michael played the perfect host and consummate professional that evening, as he would on the innumerable occasions we would cross paths over the next 10 years. Eventually he got to know us well, greeting us at every social and industry occasion with, “Look out, the STACK lads are here.”
Over the 13 years STACK has been in circulation, we’ve interviewed a plethora of managing directors across all the categories we cover in the magazine. Some limit the access they afford the media, others counter questions with answers peeled from a PR press release.
But not Michael, who made himself available for every interview request we made, always engaging in a passionate exchange of conversation. He rarely ducked a question (sometimes to the chagrin of the PR representative present), provided an informative insight to PlayStation’s modus operandi, and revealed a deep understanding of the Australian games industry he played an important role in shaping.
Since 1992, Ephraim had navigated the PlayStation business through four generations of console hardware, enjoying the successes and grappling the challenges. He always cut the same dedicated, enthusiastic figure, willing to chew the fat either on a professional or social basis.
I asked him at Paris Games Week back in 2015 what fanned the fervour he had for the industry. “It’s simple,” he said. “It’s PlayStation and what we’ve achieved over the last 20 years. There’s always something exciting happening in this industry. It keeps you young.”
We’ll certainly miss the repartee, but we doubt it’s the last the industry will see of Michael Ephraim’s ebullient personality.