Sony's PS5 Preparations Involve Taking A New Approach
Product managers having one discussion "instead of three different regional conversations."
Sony has been giving out new information on the PlayStation 5 in tiny drips, but behind the scenes the company is making big moves to prepare for the next generation. That includes not only hardware and software development as you'd expect with any new console cycle, but also a dramatic restructuring of the PlayStation business.
Newly placed PlayStation head Jim Ryan told GI.biz that the company is shifting to be one global unified brand, rather than disparate arms like PlayStation North America, Europe, and Japan. He also expanded on what that means for day-to-day operations.
"We feel we need to become a more global organisation, but this is absolutely not at the expense of our in-market strength at a country level," he said. "I really want to reinforce the point that globalisation does not mean Americanisation, or vice versa. Becoming a global organisation does not, in any way, shape or form, mean becoming an American organisation."
He said in practice, this has meant a more streamlined approach for developing the PlayStation 5 feature set. The product planners are having one conversation "instead of three different regional conversations, where they needed to reconcile positions that were often conflicting or contradictory."
It also will appear in more globalized marketing campaigns. He cites Spider-Man as an example, which was executed as a single marketing campaign instead of three regional campaigns. That will be the model going forward, from the sounds of it, but there will still be room for individual regions to play to their strengths. The European arm might take the lead on FIFA, for example, while the Japanese region showcases Final Fantasy 7.
The worldwide approach also may mean fewer games catered to a specific market. Ryan cited the 2010 game Invizimals as an example of a game that was very catered to one region, and suggested that the same focused niche will now be served better by its indie partnerships. A recent management reshuffling will be key here too.
"The nature of AAA PlayStation 4 and certainly PlayStation 5 development... We're obviously not going to have Worldwide Studios make a game for one specific European country," he said. "And that might have been the case back in the PSP times with Invizimals [which was popular in Spain]. I think this will be where Shuhei Yoshida's new task [of working with indies] will come in. If we are nimble, flexible and global, we can work with smaller developers to allow those countries' specific needs to be met."
For more on the next generation, check out everything we know about the PlayStation 5.
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