Sony has carried out a reshuffle of its two major corporate divisions, with the aim of improving on its service delivery to consumers, reports Dean Takahashi of Venturebeat.
To this end, the company has aggregated Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment into a single business unit. Both companies will now operate under a single business name called Sony Interactive Entertainment, which will be dedicated to PlayStation users.
The changes will take effect from April 1, which means all of the business units belonging to SCE, which is the PlayStation business and SNEI, the networking business, will now be aggregated into Sony Interactive Entertainment, with headquarters in San Mateo, Calif.
Aggregated division will include hardware, software, content and network services operations. Under the new regime, Shawn Layden, formerly head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, now becomes head of worldwide studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment. Also affected by the change is Shuhei Yoshida, a former head of the worldwide studios, who now reports to Layden, who reports directly to the head of the combined unit. Layden is chairman of the studios, and Yoshida is president.
“By integrating the strengths of PlayStation’s hardware, software, content and network operations, SIE will become an even stronger entity, with a clear objective to further accelerate the growth of the PlayStation business,” said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment and group executive in charge of Network Entertainment at Sony, in a statement. “Along with our business partners, SIE will develop pioneering services and products that will continue to inspire consumers’ imaginations and lead the market. We will work hard to maximize corporate value by coordinating global business operations across San Mateo, Tokyo, and London by leveraging local expertise.”
SCE was set up in 1993 with the launch of the original PlayStation video games console. In 2010, SNEI was set up with a focus on network services such as the PlayStation Network, which provides online games and other entertainment over the PlayStation Store. Before Sony’s recent announcement, these were distinct divisions that worked or operated independently. However, the new arrangement means both companies will now function as one unit. However, Venturebeat reports that Sony did not say if the changes would affect jobs.
Sony’s Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai had indicated that this fiscal year marks the start of an expansion phase after the maker of the PlayStation 4 cut thousands of jobs and shifted away from smartphones and TVs. Per Bloomberg, Hirai’s management plan which was announced last year, calls for ‘games and services, image sensors, movies and streaming music to drive growth in the next three years.’
“Network and games have practically the same user base and off-line games are no longer the driving force of the market,” Amir Anvarzadeh, a manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc. in Singapore, wrote in an e-mailed note. “This merger of the two which are both under the watchful eye of Andrew House, who has executed flawlessly thus far, makes perfect sense.”