Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony’s video game division, retires – Radio-Canada.ca

Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), will step down at the end of March after a long career at the Japanese company, where he oversaw the launch of the latest console, the PlayStation 5 (PS5).

[Il] has made the decision to retire in March 2024 after nearly 30 years in the PlayStation business, Sony announced in a statement released Thursday.

I enjoyed the opportunity to have a job I love at a very special company where I work with great people and incredible partners.

But I was finding it increasingly difficult to balance my life in Europe and my work in North America, he added in a press release.

The 63-year-old Brit joined SIE’s European branch in 1994 before holding various positions within that department, notably playing a role in the launch of PlayStation consoles since the PS2.

He had been CEO of SIE since 2019 and in this role oversaw the launch of the PS5 the following year, whose production initially suffered from the semiconductor shortage amid the pandemic. Sales figures then rose rapidly and, according to information from the end of July, amounted to a total of 40 million copies.

Surprise in the industry

The announcement of Mr Ryan’s departure was quite surprising, reacted analyst Serkan Toto from the Tokyo company Kantan Games. I don’t think anyone expected him to leave so quickly, as his career as CEO is still quite short.

To prepare for the transition, Sony Chief Operating and Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki will take over as president of SIE next month and then assume the role of interim CEO of the division in April 2024, the company said.

For Serkan Toto, the choice of Mr. Ryan’s successor will be crucial, because even if the PS5 is doing very well at the moment, the entire gaming industry is moving very, very quickly.

Sony last year announced plans to accelerate mobile and PC game releases and increase its presence in online games, which aim to capture long-term interest among players through regular additional monetized content.

A tough competitor at Microsoft

Competing with the American Microsoft in the video game market, Sony Interactive has pursued an intensive strategy of studio acquisitions in recent years, notably acquiring the American Bungie (creator of Halo and Destiny) in 2022 for $3.6 billion (4.9 billion Canadian dollars) adopted).

Sony also strengthened its stake in Epic Games (Fortnite) and invested in the capital of the Japanese company FromSoftware (Elden Ring, Dark Souls).

Jim Ryan was also at the forefront of Sony’s fight to prevent Microsoft from acquiring Activision-Blizzard, publisher of Call of Duty, Diablo and Candy Crush, for a record $69 billion (C$93 billion). .

This acquisition, which has been in the crosshairs of various regulators since it was announced in early 2022, is now nearing completion as the UK Competition Authority has given the provisional green light.

There are changes happening in the gaming industry right now, especially for Sony [avec le succès de ce rachat par Microsoft], commented Mr. Toto and added. I think it would have been better for PlayStation if Jim Ryan had stayed at the helm for another year or three.