PlayStation business feels pressure to perform for Sony Corp

Buoyed by promotion of Kaz Hirai, Worldwide Studios boss admits "it's a huge expectation for us to lead the business."

The PlayStation business is under renewed pressure to perform for Sony Corporation in a year when the company is expecting to make a ¥220 billion ($2.9 billion) loss.

PlayStation's Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida admitted there's a renewed emphasis on the division to perform, but the group is also motivated by the leadership of new Sony CEO Kaz Hirai and his years of experience in the games market.

"I'll be remiss if I say they won't be because we're part of the big Sony corporation. But when you listen carefully to the announcements by Kaz Hirai, he clearly said that Sony going forward has a two pillar business. We have a really strong vertical integration, one is the digital imaging, with digital and video cameras and the other is games," Yoshida told

The appointment of Kaz himself is a clear message. The way he has developed software, hardware and services together, I'm sure that's how he's going to develop the business.

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony

Yoshida said he is expecting continued investment in the PlayStation business - one of Sony's most successful brands and due in the spotlight this month with the imminent launch of the PS Vita handheld.

"Coming from Kaz, saying these two businesses are the pillars of the company, it's a huge expectation for us to kind of lead the business and so I would expect Sony would allow us to invest for the future.

"It's clear messaging, the appointment of Kaz himself is a clear message. The way he has developed software, hardware and services together, I'm sure that's how he's going to develop the business."

Kaz Hirai replaces Howard Stringer officially on April 1, and has already announced plans to grow the core games, smartphone and digital imaging businesses, as well as try to turn around Sony's struggling television business.

For Yoshida and other PlayStation executives, there's a sense of relief that senior Sony corporate staff now accept the games business, when even the rejection of ideas at boardroom level will be cushioned by Hirai's fundamental understanding of the games market.

"Because my office is in Sony headquarters I have more exposure to the other Sony divisions, it's fun to find new allies in different departments, but there are lots of layers of Sony executives on the electronics side that do not necessarily understand what we were doing in the games business," offered Yoshida.

"It was a scary thought when I had to present some investment and business plans to executives and I worried they might ask questions that might not be relevant, I was concerned that these people might be making decisions over our business.

"So it's a big relief and a very energising thing that we see Kaz promoted." He continued: "He's a very business orientated person but he also understands what is most important for our business and what our strategy is. Even when he says 'no' he understands our business, which is better than hearing 'no' from other executives who do not understand the video games business."

The PlayStation Vita launches in Europe and the US next week. will be offering extensive coverage of the console's development, launch and sales over the coming weeks.

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Latest comments (2)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
Poor Sony.
Samsung took their screen business. Nokia took their phone business. Apple took their portable music business. Nintendo and Microsoft took their game business. Canon took their compact digital camera business. etc etc
Basically they just failed to compete.
And then there billions thrown into silly ideas. Cell processing and BluRay recorded media were both un-necessary and are never going to give an adequate return on investment.
Meanwhile the brand has lost the cool that it once had. They are just another manufacturer of electronic boxes now. Apple have all the cool.

Kaz Hirai doesn't just have a mountain to climb, he has a whole range of them. To get Sony back to just being competitive at the top of the market in a few product areas will be nearly impossible. To get it back to what it could have been will never happen. Too much has been lost.

But I wish him the very best of luck. A vibrant Sony can bring a lot to the world.
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Richard Pygott Level Designer 9 years ago
I am inclined to agree with you Bruce, Sony it seems have lost their Edge. Their Playstation arm of the business has become to big and almost over-encumbered.

Back in the PS1 days, they were the New Kids, with fresh ideas and had the balls to just go out there and try different things. Now I bet they have a top down command and control environment were everything needs to get signed off.
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