Sony Interactive President Jim Ryan—the man who’s led Sony’s PlayStation division since 2019, is stepping down from his role as president and retiring from the company.
News of his departure first came via Bloomberg games reporter Jason Schreier, and was confirmed by Sony in a statement a few minutes later. According to Ryan, he’s found it “increasingly difficult” to reconcile living in Europe while working in North America. “I will leave having been privileged to work on products that have touched millions of lives across the world.”
Hiroki Totoki—Sony’s president, COO, and CFO, will assume the role of “chairman” of Sony Interactive Entertainment beginning on October 1, 2023.
In April 2024, Totki will take on the role of interim CEO while maintaining his main role at Sony Corporation.
In a statement, Sony chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida called Ryan an “inspirational leader” in his over 30 years with the company and praised his work overseeing the launch of PlayStation 5 during the COVID-19 pandemic. “That extraordinary achievement made by the entire SIE team has been steadily built on and PlayStation 5 is on track to become SIE’s most successful console yet,” he added.
Jim Ryan’s tenure at PlayStation has been massively successful
As former Game Developer editor Alex Wawro noted in 2019, Ryan has been “kicking around” the Sony organizational chart for 30 years. Before becoming president and CEO, he was deputy president following the departure of John Kodera.
Before he was in that position, he had at one point served as president of the division known as Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.
Ryan stepped into the leadership role at PlayStation at the tail end of the successful run of the PlayStation 4 and right before the launch of the PlayStation 5. That launch would obviously become incredibly complicated by the massive spread of COVID-19 in 2020, triggering worldwide lockdowns that disrupted the console manufacturing process (to say nothing of the massive death that followed suit).
Sony’s main public struggle during that periodwas that the PlayStation 5 was so popular that the companywas struggling to produce enough units to meet demand.
Launching a new generation of game console wasn’t Ryan’s only achievement at PlayStation. During his tenure, the company raced to snap up high-profile game studios like Returnal developer Housemarque and Destiny 2 (and now,Marathon) developer Bungie. The company made a number of smaller acquisitions as well in a bid to strengthen its mobile portfolio and beef up its support studios.
He also oversaw PlayStation’s slow push into the world of PC ports of PlayStation Studios games.
Ryan found himself stepping into the spotlight as a public figure in recent years, most recently as the face of Sony’s opposition to Microsoft’s $68.7 billion proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. He also faced backlash from PlayStation employees who were desperate for the company to issue a response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which effectively banned abortion in some states where PlayStation operated.
The PlayStation boss tried to downplay the company’s need to make such a statement and asked staffers to respect “differences of opinion” on the topic. The backlash would eventually lead to Sony making private donations to abortion-access nonprofits.
What’s remarkable is that this controversy was one of the few that Ryan endured during his time as CEO. He’s retiring from the company with a strong number of wins for himself and PlayStation, leaving it in an even stronger state than when he first assumed the role.
That’s a remarkable achievement by any measure. Like former Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aimé, he’s departing the company with a track record proving he was worthy of the role.