Sony Corporation will combine its two PlayStation-focused divisions, Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment International, into one new company called Sony Interactive Entertainment, it announced on Tuesday.
PlayStation hardware, software, online networks, studios, research and development will now all be united under the Sony Interactive Entertainment company for a stronger global focus.
The new headquarters for Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC will be located in San Mateo, California, a move from where Sony Computer Entertainment currently calls home in Tokyo, Japan. The U.S. will now be the center of Sony’s video game business, a shift away from the company’s Japanese-centered corporate leadership since the PlayStation’s founding over 22 years ago.
Sony Interactive Entertainment, or SIE, will become a new company starting April 1, 2016. Andrew House will remain president and global CEO of SIE. Integral business operations will be made in Tokyo and London, where Sony Computer Entertainment currently has regional headquarters, in connection with the company’s new base in California.
The PlayStation brand and its internal development studios currently covers the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, which are all under the Sony Computer Entertainment banner. Sony Network Entertainment International is the division responsible for PlayStation’s online infrastructures like the PlayStation Network.
All the current executives within Sony Computer Entertainment and SNEI will remain with the company but undergo a restructuring of leadership, with some moving into new positions and roles, combining responsibilities and changing who they report to. The American, European and Japanese president positions of Sony Computer Entertainment branches will be dissolved. House will also become the head of the company’s Global Partner Development and Relations, responsible for forming partnerships with new talent and companies.
House has worked at Sony Corporation since 1990, moving to the PlayStation side in 1995 and responsible for promoting the company’s gaming brand as the vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). He became president and CEO of Sony Entertainment Europe (SCEE) in 2009 and global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment in September 2011.
“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,” House said in a statement.
Shawn Layden, president and CEO of SCEA, said the upcoming merger will help “power the next 20 years of PlayStation innovation,” with a clearer focus on developing for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR and entertainment services like PlayStation Vue. Layden will become the global president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios on April 1.
Layden has been with Sony since 1987 and was formerly president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan. He helped establish SNEI as its executive vice president and COO, later becoming president of the American division of SCE in April 2014 after Jack Tretton left the position.
Jim Ryan, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, will become the head of global sales and marketing. John Kodera, current president of Sony Network Entertainment International, will become head of the company’s System/Network Engineering and Operation department as well as the Product and Business Management division. Shuhei Yoshida, the current president of Worldwide Studios, will report to Layden and still retain his same title. Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Corporation, will serve as a member of the SIE board.
Sony’s three goals with the new company are to “retain and expand PlayStation user engagement, increase Average Revenue Per Paying Users (ARPPU) and drive ancillary revenue” outside of its core gaming focus. It aims to “vigorously expand the PlayStation business by delivering an integrated experience built around best-in-class games and network services to consumers worldwide.”
The Sony Computer Entertainment America, Europe and Japan divisions would often have different leadership structures, schedules and development projects. SIE looks to streamline some of these processes for the PlayStation brand across the worldwide territories.
Sony Computer Entertainment was founded in November 1993 to support the launch of the original PlayStation, which first released for the Japanese market in December 1994. Over the years the branches expanded to include those in North America and Europe, covering the launch of the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PS3, Vita and PS4.
Sony Network Entertainment International was formed in April 2010 to service online infrastructures and applications like the PlayStation Network, the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus subscriptions, PlayStation Now game streaming, the PlayStation Vue television streaming service and PlayStation Music.
The PlayStation 4 has sold more than 35.9 million units worldwide since its launch in November 2013.