With Ryan’s imminent exit, could PlayStation’s next CEO finally realise their mo | Pocket Gamer.biz

With the departure of Jim Ryan, the former head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, it’s time to examine the one console company that has been reluctant to embrace mobile gaming.

Sony first entered the gaming market in the early 80s by collaborating with Nintendo on what would have been Nintendo’s first CD-based console. However, Nintendo ended their partnership with Sony, and in the mid-90s, Sony PlayStation was born.

Back then, the industry was focused on the transition from pixels to polygons, and mobile gaming had not yet become popular. The industry’s value was under $50 billion, with a significant portion coming from arcades.

Ryan’s history with PlayStation dates back to before the launch of the first console, his departure could signal a fundamental business strategy shift for Sony Interactive Entertainment

In 2023, mobile gaming dominates the market with a value of $92.6 billion. Console gaming, which is still a three-way competition, is expected to generate only $56.1 billion. However, even within the console market, the major players are exploring other avenues. Nintendo is scaling back its mobile efforts but remains committed to expanding the brand through projects like Pokemon Sleep, Pokemon Unite, and Pokemon Go. Microsoft, on the other hand, is focusing on cloud stream services and delivering a consistent experience across platforms.

PlayStation’s Place in the Mobile-Dominated Market

So where does Sony stand in all of this? They have no major presence in the mobile gaming space and continue to focus on exclusives for console gaming. Their games are slowly being released on PC services but only after they have already been on consoles for some time. PlayStation itself is relatively unknown in the mobile gaming industry, even though Sony generates significant revenue from its media and electrical businesses.

While we have been keeping an eye on PlayStation’s moves, there have been several false starts in the past year. They formed a mobile division called PlayStation Mobile and acquired Savage Games Studios, but both ventures failed to make a significant impact. PlayStation also announced a handheld console, which turned out to be more of an off-screen alternative rather than a standalone device for independent play. Though PlayStation is actively looking for partners in South Korea, a region dominated by mobile gaming, their previous exploration of the mobile market seemed to go nowhere.

Sony Group President Hiroki Tokoki will be stepping in to fill Jim Ryan’s absence, his history as a CFO who has had oversight over PlayStation positions him in an interesting position.

PlayStation’s journey into mobile gaming has been filled with challenges, especially in recent years. As a result, exiting CEO Jim Ryan is not likely to be remembered positively in this regard. However, as Sony Group President Hiroki Totoki takes over as interim head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, there is an opportunity for the company to make new strides in the mobile market.

Time for a Change

Totoki could be the right person for the job. As Sony’s chief financial officer, he is well aware of the company’s revenue streams. During an earnings call last November, Totoki acknowledged that PlayStation had underperformed for two consecutive quarters. He stated, “Our biggest regret is that we have made a significant downgrade to the operating income forecast.”

Innovation and exploration of new avenues could be the key to success.

With the upcoming release of a new generation of consoles and Apple’s claim that the iPhone is the best mobile gaming platform, this could be the perfect time for PlayStation to finally take action. Otherwise, they risk being left behind in the ever-evolving gaming industry.