Sony’s PlayStation Chief Jim Ryan to Retire Next Year

Sony Group Corporation announced on Wednesday that Jim Ryan, the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), will retire in March 2024 after nearly 30 years with the company. Ryan has been leading the PlayStation business since 2019 and oversaw the successful launch of the PlayStation 5 console amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan joined Sony in 1994 as part of the legal entity of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), which later became Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe (SIEE). He held various senior positions at SIEE, including president, and was also the head of global sales and marketing at SIE. He became the deputy president of SIE in January 2018 and was appointed as the president and CEO of SIE in April 2019.

Sony’s PlayStation Chief Jim Ryan to Retire Next Year
Sony’s PlayStation Chief Jim Ryan to Retire Next Year

During his tenure, Ryan was instrumental in expanding the PlayStation brand and its global reach, as well as fostering strong relationships with game developers and publishers. He also championed the PlayStation Plus subscription service, which offers online multiplayer, cloud storage, and free monthly games to its members. Under his leadership, PlayStation achieved record-breaking sales and profitability, with more than 115 million units of PlayStation 4 sold worldwide and over 10 million units of PlayStation 5 shipped since its launch in November 2020.

Ryan also faced some challenges and controversies during his career, such as the backlash from fans over the closure of older PlayStation online stores, the lack of backward compatibility for PlayStation 5, and his dismissive attitude toward retro games and gaming preservation. However, he also showed a willingness to adapt and innovate, such as embracing cross-play with other platforms, supporting indie games and diverse creators, and investing in new technologies like virtual reality and cloud gaming.

A New Leadership Structure for SIE

Sony Group Corporation also announced that Hiroki Totoki, the current president, COO, and CFO of Sony Group Corporation, will assume the role of chairman of SIE effective October 2021. Totoki will also become the interim CEO of SIE as of April 1, 2024, while he continues his current role at Sony Group Corporation and the company looks for a successor.

Totoki is a veteran of Sony as well, having joined the company in 1987. He has held various positions in finance, corporate planning, and business operations at Sony. He became the CFO of Sony Corporation in 2014 and was appointed as the president and COO of Sony Corporation in April 2020. He is also responsible for overseeing Sony’s entertainment businesses, such as music, pictures, and anime.

Totoki is expected to bring his financial expertise and strategic vision to SIE, as well as strengthen the collaboration between SIE and other Sony businesses. He will also face some challenges and opportunities in leading SIE, such as meeting the high demand for PlayStation 5 amid supply chain issues, competing with rivals like Microsoft and Nintendo in the gaming market, and exploring new growth areas like mobile gaming, streaming services, and metaverse platforms.

A Fond Farewell from Ryan

Ryan expressed his gratitude and optimism for SIE in a statement released by Sony. He said:

After 30 years, I have made the decision to retire from SIE in March 2024. I’ve relished the opportunity to have a job I love in a very special company, working with great people and incredible partners. But I’ve found it increasingly difficult to reconcile living in Europe and working in North America. I will leave having been privileged to work on products that have touched millions of lives across the world; PlayStation will always be part of my life, and I feel more optimistic than ever about the future of SIE. I want to thank Yoshida-san for placing so much trust in me and being an incredibly sensitive and supportive leader.

Kenichiro Yoshida, the chairman and CEO of Sony Group Corporation, also praised Ryan for his achievements and contributions to SIE. He said:

Jim Ryan has been an inspirational leader throughout his entire period with us, but never more so than in overseeing the launch of PlayStation 5 in the midst of the global COVID pandemic. That extraordinary achievement made by the entire SIE team has been steadily built on and PlayStation 5 is on track to become SIE’s most successful console yet. I’m immensely grateful to Jim for all his achievements.

Ryan’s retirement will mark the end of an era for PlayStation, but also the beginning of a new one. His legacy will be remembered by millions of gamers around the world who have enjoyed playing on PlayStation consoles over the years. His successor will have big shoes to fill, but also a great opportunity to take PlayStation to new heights.

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