The PS5 Transition: Why Sony Leadership Changes Will Help

PlayStation is going through a reorganization ahead of the launch of the PS5. Sony Interactive Entertainment Shawn Layden left PlayStation last month, and today Guerrilla Games’ Hermen Hulst succeeded Shuhei Yoshida as head of Worldwide Studios. But PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says the reorganization is necessary to help transition the company for the PlayStation 5.Speaking with, Ryan explained that the recent personnel changes have been made to help “globalize” the PlayStation organization. “When we look at this transition and the ambition to do things at a scale and pace that we haven’t seen, we have to look at ourselves and make certain changes. Some of which are in the ways we work, and some in the way we organize,” Ryan says.Every IGN PlayStation First-Party Exclusive Review"The product planners are now having one conversation instead of three different regional conversations, where they needed to reconcile positions that were often conflicting or contradictory, with an endless process of iteration and consensus," says Ryan in regards to the previous, regional system PlayStation operated under. "That's not happening anymore. We have one conversation and we get on and do stuff."

Ryan cites how this approach changes the way the company markets games. “The first global campaign that we ran was around Spider-Man. It’s a great game obviously, but it also ended up as PlayStation’s bestselling first-party game. It was one global campaign conceived and executed in an outstanding manner, as opposed to three different regional campaigns that are often executed very well, but the same thing in essence done three times.”

As Sony announced today, Hermen Hulst will take over as head of Worldwide Studios, while Angie Smets, Michael van der Leeuw, and Jan Barter Bridges will lead Guerrilla Games.

Previously, PlayStation’s business was divided up by regions: Europe, the US, and Japan. As GI.Biz points out, the regional approach has helped PlayStation target specific markets with a unique approach, something Ryan says isn’t disappearing.

“You see that again with the new global brand campaign. It’s slightly different here because it uses a global framework, but with regional applications,” Ryan explains. “The European execution showcases FIFA principally, the US execution showcases Fortnite, and the Japanese execution showcases Final Fantasy VII.”Developers Share What Most Excites Them About Next-Gen TechSo essentially, Ryan is seemingly saying that the new organization can build a single marketing campaign, but one that’s finetuned to regional tastes. And Ryan says Hulst moving in to lead PlayStation’s Worldwide Studios opens up Yoshida to work with indies and more regional specific games.

“If we are nimble, flexible and global, we can work with smaller developers to allow those countries’ specific needs to be met,” Ryan concludes.

Sony has found massive success with the PlayStation 4, having crossed the 100 million sales mark. With the PS5 approaching, and developers actively working on next-gen projects, it remains to be seen how Sony’s new global approach will help PlayStation in the face of new competition from companies like Google, as well as new strategies from Xbox and Nintendo.
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