Architect Designs Sony's Virtual World

The gaming rooms are filled with old-fashioned arcade machines for such games as Dig Dug, Pac Man, and Galaga.

Back in July 2007, architect Kenji Ikemoto got an unexpected call from a contact at Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony's (SNE) video game unit. Was he interested in designing an online virtual world for the company's PlayStation 3 gaming console? Ikemoto, 37, was intrigued. The founder of Jota Associates had worked on residential and commercial buildings around Tokyo, but had no experience in video games and no clue why Sony would want to hire a real-world architect for such a project. The offer began to make sense when he met with officials at Sony Computer Entertainment's office: They wanted to create a virtual cityscape rivaling hip areas of Tokyo.

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