Jim Ryan, PlayStation head and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, is leaving the company after an almost 30-year stint. In a press release, Sony confirmed that he will be retiring in March 2024, with COO Hiroki Totoki being appointed as the interim CEO of the company from April 1, 2024. Ryan merely served four years as CEO, having replaced John Kodera in 2019, and most notably oversaw the launch of the PS5, which has sold over 40 million units worldwide, as of July. It’s unclear who will eventually be taking over as the new CEO, but for the time being, Totoki will assume the role of SIE chairman in October.
“As you will have seen today in the news, I have announced my retirement after nearly 30 years at Sony Interactive Entertainment,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. “I did not take this decision lightly and I absolutely love SIE and our community, but of late I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to strike the right balance between having my home in the UK and my job in the United States.” Prior to Sony’s press release, Bloomberg games reporter Jason Schreier broke the news about the exit, causing some to wonder if it had something to do with Ryan not being able to block the Microsoft x Activision Blizzard deal. As it turns out, he’s simply retiring and is thankful for what the company has achieved across generations.
Meanwhile, Totoki will ‘work closely’ with Sony Group Corporation Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida to navigate the future of PlayStation and even decide who will take over the CEO role. Personally, I think it’d be interesting to see if Herman Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios and co-founder of Guerilla Games (Horizon Zero Dawn), takes on the position, considering he has hands-on experience with games and their development. Meanwhile, Ryan’s approach was more business-oriented, as depicted by his push for live-service games, restructuring seminal developers like Japan Studio, introducing a cloud-based handheld game streaming device, and raising base prices of the PS5 console and more recently, the 12-month plans of PS Plus service.
That said, some important acquisitions were made under his leadership as well, ranging from Returnal maker Housemarque, Destiny creator Bungie, Bluepoint Games, and porting veterans Nixxes Software amongst others. The last of them was crucial in bringing PlayStation exclusives like Spider-Man Remastered over to PC, allowing more gamers to experience quality AAA titles from some of the best narrative game developers in the world. He also oversaw the launches of blockbuster first-party titles like God of War Ragnarök and Horizon Forbidden West, in addition to launching the PS VR2. On the side, Ryan has been in the headlines for trying to prevent Microsoft’s $69 billion (about Rs. 5,74,142 crore) buyout of Activision Blizzard.
There seems to have been no bad blood between the two companies, however, as Xbox chief Phil Spencer conveyed his best wishes to Ryan on Thursday in a post on X. “Jim Ryan has been a great contributor to our industry and a fierce leader for PlayStation. I wish him the best in what he does next. Thank you for all you’ve done for the community over the last 30 years, Jim,” Spencer said.
Soon-to-be interim CEO Totoki also lauded Ryan’s career at Sony, praising the PS5 launch in particular. “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Jim Ryan for his outstanding achievements and contributions over his 30-year career at Sony, including the great success of launching the PlayStation 5,” Totoki said in a statement. “I will work with Jim and the senior management team closely to ensure our continued success and further growth.”