Sony may have hit a homerun with the PlayStation 4 over the past few months, but it's undergoing a bit of an employment overhaul at the minute. Hot on the heels of layoffs at Sony Santa Monica and the departure of Uncharted creator Amy Hennig earlier in the week, SCEA president Jack Tretton has now announced that he’s leaving the company after a whopping 19 years at the firm.
Having worked at the business since its inception, the former Activision employee played a major role in the launch of the – wait for it – PSone, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and, of course, PlayStation 4. Those of you new to the brand will probably best know the industry stalwart for announcing that the Japanese giant’s next-gen machine will play used games during the platform holder’s E3 press conference last year.
"Working at SCEA for the past 19 years has been the most rewarding experience of my career," he said in a statement. "Although I will deeply miss the talented team at SCEA and the passion demonstrated every day by our fans, I'm very excited about starting the next chapter of my career. I want to thank the employees, partners and customers for their tireless commitment to the PlayStation brand, and, of course, to our fans who have pushed us to new heights of innovation and entertainment over the past two decades. I leave PlayStation in a position of considerable strength and the future will only get brighter for PlayStation Nation.”
Tretton will be replaced by Shawn Layden, a fellow veteran who currently works as executive vice president for Sony Network Entertainment. Having already spent 15 years under the organisation’s umbrella, the new SCEA gaffer previously held pivotal roles at London Studio and SCEJ, where he was president prior to current incumbent Hiroshi Kawano.
“It's an honour and privilege to join SCEA and be a part of the team that is leading the next generation of gaming and entertainment," he explained. “SCEA is committed to delivering breakthrough gaming experiences that inspire fans and exceed their wildest expectations. As PS4 shows us every day, there has never been a better time to be part of the PlayStation community and I look forward to working with our retail, development, publishing, and network partners to further demonstrate why PlayStation is the best place to play."
Andrew House, who’s in charge of the entire division, went on to personally thank Tretton for his work, and also welcome Layden to the fold. “I have the utmost confidence in Shawn's leadership capabilities, and his deep knowledge of the gaming industry and commitment to gamers will help keep PlayStation at the forefront of entertainment and innovative gameplay,” he said.
While the timing is probably not the best, there’s unlikely to be a bigger narrative at play here. With the end of the fiscal year rapidly approaching, it’s common for some employment turbulence to occur. Nevertheless, over the past few years, there’s no doubt that Tretton has become one of the best public speakers in the industry, and it’s not going to be the same without him at the helm of this year’s E3. Still, at least he’s leaving on a high, with his verbal assault on Microsoft’s draconian digital rights management policies going down as one of the greatest ever moments in gaming press conference history.