PlayStation makes major next gen blunder as European staff face redundancies

Sony may have just lost a significant advantage over Microsoft and Nintendo in the next gen console wars, as they sideline their European offices.

Dozens of Sony Interactive Entertainment staff have reportedly been made redundant in Europe, as part of sweeping changes in the PlayStation division, that centralises power in the U.S.

American execs visited Sony’s London offices on Tuesday and announced the restructuring of several divisions, including marketing and PR. This involved not only redundancies but remaining workers having to re-interview for their existing jobs.

According to website VGC, there have also been redundancies in the U.S. creative services team, with some senior staff across the company leaving of their own volition. All of which is part of a process that began in 2016 when the PlayStation business was moved from Japan to America.

Some of this smacks of office politics and executive power struggles, with the rapid rise of President and CEO Jim Ryan, who used to be based in the London offices, and the recent departure of PlayStation America figurehead Shawn Layden.

European staff are reportedly already being left out of the loop and apparently had no idea about the PlayStation 5 revelations made, via U.S. publication Wired, this week until they happened – the same day as the redundancies were announced.

The move seems extremely unwise given that much of Sony’s success with the PlayStation can be attributed to the way it’s allowed local territories to oversee their own marketing and sign-up their own locally-made games.

From WipeEout on the PlayStation 1 (which was never a major hit anywhere else in the world) to VR projects such as Blood & Truth, Sony Europe has always operated with a large degree of autonomy.

This contrasts with Microsoft’s approach for Xbox, which is much more tightly controlled by America and has never seen major success in Japan or on the Continent.

Centralising everything in America will potentially make things easier for third party publishers but it seems a needless mistake which removes what would have otherwise been a clear advantage for Sony in the next generation.

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