“Hermen is one of the most effective and well-respected leaders in the video game industry,” Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in the news release. “He is a passionate advocate for the teams he leads and understands how to empower creative talent to build great experiences.”
It’s far from the only shake-up at the company in recent years. Today’s shuffle comes just over a month after chairman Shawn Layden left Sony. The reason for Layden’s departure remains unknown (his departure was announced, unceremoniously, via a tweet from Sony). In 2017, president and chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment Andrew House stepped down and was succeeded by John Kodera. Earlier this year in April that leadership shifted again, with Jim Ryan taking over the role and replacing Kodera.
In recent years, PlayStation’s emphasis has shifted toward blockbuster releases. Transitioning the former head of PlayStation worldwide studios to work with indies in an intentional, focused way may be a strategic move ahead of PlayStation 5′s release.
“I am thrilled to announce Shu Yoshida as head of this new initiative,” Ryan said. “Everybody knows just how passionate Shu is about independent games — they are lifeblood of the industry, making our content portfolio so special for our gamers. These wildly creative experiences deserve focus and a champion like Shu at PlayStation who will ensure the entire SIE organization works together to better engage with independent developers through a culture of supporting and celebrating their contributions to PlayStation platforms."
Adding prominent exclusive games and content from independent studios is a way to distinguish Sony’s game subscription streaming service from its competitors like Google’s Stadia or Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass.
“We are taking this very seriously,” Ryan said in an interview with gamesindustry.biz. “The commitment we’ve made in terms of price cuts, the investment in content, the marketing campaign... It’s a pretty vivid illustration of that seriousness. We’ve been doing this for a number of years and very quietly we’ve been taking an awful lot from it.”