Sony exec Jim Ryan will lead the PlayStation brand in 2019 and beyond.
Sony Interactive Entertainment will kick off its Fiscal Year 2019 timeline with a management shake up. Starting April 1, 2019, current SIE President John Kodera will step down and Jim Ryan will take over his position. Kodera will become SIE's Deputy President and focus exclusively on expanding PlayStation online services like PS Plus, PS Now, and various entertainment subscriptions. Sony affirms online content remains its biggest opportunity for growth amid the massive 91.6 million PS4 install base.
So what does this actually mean? Basically Sony is doubling-down on improving its lucrative billion-dollar services in a bid to remain competitive. Companies like Microsoft and EA are working on game streaming services and have strongly invested in engagement-driven online services, but Sony has a huge advantage: the PS4's install base. We should see vast improvements and incentives to PS Plus, PlayStation Network, PS Now and even new updated subscriptions as time goes by. Cross-play will absolutely be a part of this game-plan, as will an expansion of offered content.
Sony just reported strong earnings from its Fiscal Q3'18 earnings. It sold more than 8 million PS4s during the holiday season, and its Games and Network Services segment earned 780.6 billion yen, or 32% of total quarterly revenues.
Here's what key executives had to say about the shake-up:
Comment from Kenichiro Yoshida:
"Our Game & Network Services business has grown into the Sony Group's largest business in terms of both sales and operating income. Furthermore, our business in this domain holds significant importance as our growth driver going forward. At the same time, this industry is relentlessly fast-moving, and to remain the market leader, we must constantly evolve ourselves with a sense of urgency. Based on extensive discussions with John, I have decided to change the management structure of SIE to ensure sustainable evolution of the PlayStation platform and further growth of the network area. Jim Ryan has been long committed to the growth of the PlayStation business for the last 25 years. I believe that this new structure - where Jim will manage SIE's overall organization and operations, and which will allow John to focus on the key mission to further develop PlayStation Network (PSN) that has now grown into an immensely large platform with over 90 million Monthly Active Users worldwide - will enable SIE to accelerate its innovation and evolution even further. Moving forward, I also have expectations for John to lead the Sony Group's DX (Digital Transformation) strategy drawing on his wealth of experience with PSN, in addition to his mission at SIE."
Comment from John Kodera:
"I have been discussing with Yoshida-san the need to drive SIE to the next phase in our rapidly changing business environment, and realize the evolution of the PlayStation platform and further enriching the user experiences made possible through the network, which is an essential value that people expect in the entertainment PlayStation provides. As a result, we have concluded that the best direction is for Jim to take the helm of the overall management of SIE, and for me to spearhead the network area to continue creating innovative services and experiences, where competition continues to intensify with many new players joining the business. Jim has extensive knowledge around the game business and industry, as well as deep understanding of the PlayStation culture and strengths. I am confident that he will lead us to greater success as CEO of SIE. I will continue to support Jim by contributing to further strengthening user engagement, and to the overall growth of the PlayStation business. I also aim to leverage my experience and accumulated expertise to contribute to strengthening the Sony Group's DX (Digital Transformation) strategy."
Comment from Jim Ryan:
"It's a huge honor to be asked to take on the role of President and CEO of SIE. I've seen the PlayStation business grow and change massively since the very early days, and I hope to be able to put that experience to good use in reinforcing the foundations of the Game & Network Service business, and in evolving the entertainment that PlayStation offers to its engaged and passionate community. Working with John and the SIE team around the world, I am committed to strengthening relations with our business partners, and to continuing to provide the ultimate interactive entertainment experiences that make PlayStation the Best Place to Play."