Reaction: PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan May Have Been Disliked, But Leaves Big Boots to Fill 1

The surprising revelation that Jim Ryan will retire as Sony Interactive Entertainment’s President and CEO at the end of March 2024 has been, perhaps predictably, met with glee from most corners of the wider video game world. In addition to courting controversy on a number of occasions, the British executive’s tenure has largely been marred by a change in corporate goals: an emphasis on games as a service which has yet to really bear fruit, a lack of engagement with enthusiasts, and a blank slate of upcoming first-party releases.

Of course, Ryan alone will not be responsible for the entire division’s direction, and it’s unlikely that a new CEO will walk in and rip up all of the progress that’s been made under the current management’s stewardship. As such, we’d recommend you don’t expect a sudden shift away from live service software, PC ports, and even smartphone titles, which is another area the organisation has been investing in. Sony Group’s COO and CFO Hiroki Totoki will take charge on a temporary basis, and is likely to offer a steady hand while the firm searches for a full-time successor.

This means it’s likely to be business as usual moving forwards, and there’s no real reason to assume PlayStation will be any different despite the departure of Ryan. It’s perhaps important at this point to underline just how effective the outgoing executive’s management has been: he’s helped PS5 outpace sales of the PS4 despite unprecedented stock shortages caused by the pandemic, and he also launched an entire console platform during a global lockdown. His wider tenure shouldn’t be ignored either: his early experiences running PlayStation Europe helped make Sony the market leader on the continent.

It's clear, whatever your opinion of the person, that Ryan is an extremely capable businessman. But, while interviews with the executive are limited, he’s talked in the past about his gruelling schedule, which involved spending two weeks in North America, one week in Japan, and one week in his home country of the UK each month. Now approaching his mid-60s, it’s evident from Ryan’s outgoing speech that he simply wants to spend more time with his family. This is understandable.

Reaction: PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan May Have Been Disliked, But Leaves Big Boots to Fill 2

Ryan’s period in the top seat, among hardcore fans at least, will be marred by his uncharismatic interviews and his seeming disdain for the enthusiasts who set the mood for the discourse around the division as a whole. But he leaves the business in a strong position, with record hardware sales, steady subscriber numbers, and a strong slate of first-party studios. We hope that his replacement is a little more open with customers in a way that Ryan wasn’t, but anyone stepping into the role is going to have a tough time matching the executive’s pure business achievements.

How would you like Jim Ryan’s replacement to approach the role, and who do you think is the best person responsible for the job? Apply for the position in the comments section below.