By Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) -Sony Group said on Thursday its gaming chief Jim Ryan would retire next March, with group President Hiroki Totoki to become interim CEO during the search for a successor.
Ryan, who is British, become CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) in 2019 and oversaw initiatives including the launch of the PlayStation 5 console the following year.
“Jim no longer wants to manage the tradeoff between having a job in the U.S. and a home in the UK,” SIE said in a statement.
“He has been an inspirational leader, guiding SIE though the global COVID pandemic while leading the launch of PlayStation 5 and making it PlayStation’s most successful platform.”
Sony expects to sell a record 25 million PlayStation 5 consoles this financial year following the easing of supply chain snarls but in August said it was resorting to promotions to help momentum due to weaker than expected sales.
Ryan’s successor faces challenges, including driving a push outside Sony’s traditional focus on single-player console games with more titles on PC and smartphone and a ramp-up in live service games, which offer continuous, updated play.
Longer term the gaming unit, a major profit contributor at the Japanese conglomerate, must navigate an industry in flux as advances in smartphones and cloud technology raise doubts about the need for stand-alone consoles with games that can cost $70 each.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Jamie Freed and Aurora Ellis)
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