Sony names new PlayStation chief as PS5 speculation grows


Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Kenichiro Yoshida, president and chief executive officer of Sony, speaks at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sony’s gaming division appointed senior executive Jim Ryan as its new president and CEO on Tuesday.

Ryan will be appointed to his new role on April 1, taking the reins from John Kodera, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) said in a statement.

The executive previously served as SIE’s deputy president and was head of global sales and marketing before that.

“Our Game & Network Services business has grown into the Sony Group’s largest business in terms of both sales and operating income,” Yoshida said in a statement. “Furthermore, our business in this domain holds significant importance as our growth driver going forward.”

He added: “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.”

The move marks the second time in two years that the company has named a new PlayStation boss — Kodera was appointed in October 2017 — and comes after it reported a drop in profits and sales of its PlayStation 4 console.

Speculation has been growing over the firm’s next big console, as the PS4 approaches the end of its lifecycle. Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed last year that the product was in development, but remained tight-lipped on the branding and features.

Tom Wijman, senior market analyst at gaming research firm Newzoo, said the leadership change was likely about Sony’s renewed focus on the services side of its business, the PlayStation Network, or PSN.

“Two key trends play a role here: firstly, game franchises are slowly turning into entertainment franchises,” Wijman said. “Secondly, in an era of gaming-as-a-service and the upcoming games subscriptions, owning IP (intellectual property) is very valuable.”

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