This past Tuesday (October 8, 2019), on the exact same day that Sony officially announced the name and release window of the PlayStation 5, the Japanese manufacturer also dealt out a number of PlayStation layoffs. According to “people with knowledge of the situation,” directors from the US arm of PlayStation paid a visit to London’s Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe (SIEE) studio in order to share the news that several divisions were to be restructured, resulting in
The affected departments include marketing and PR, and due to the restructure, some employees were even required to re-interview for their jobs. Layoffs weren’t strictly limited to the EU, however, with the American creative services team also being impacted.
Video Game Chronicle reports that the changes are in aid of a wider company restructuring effort, geared towards centralizing a more global structure in the US. Previously, different regional branches would operate in their own distinct fashion and it’s claimed that this was a cause of frustration for third-party software publishers. When releasing a game across multiple regions on PlayStation these publishers would encounter disjointed methods, workflows, and priorities.
Layoffs related to revamping and centralizing the publishing arm of Sony are similar to the alleged motive for this year’s Activision Blizzard layoffs in the face of a changing gaming industry landscape. Sony’s nonattendance at recent trade shows and expos, as well as not curating PSX events anymore, is further evidence of the shifting focus. Now it appears as though North America’s Sony Interactive Entertainment America (SIEA) is largely running the show in Europe, but what that might mean for the region’s output of games—including titles like Wipeout and Dreams—is currently unknown.
Centralizing operations to the North American publishing arm has seen a number of layoffs come to the EU side of SIE over the past year. VGC reports that many SIEE employees feel the European team’s influence on the next-generation of PlayStation will be severely diminished.
According to VGC, SIEE employees don’t necessarily believe that their future is bright. They reportedly go unaware of many company plans until they’re made public, such as the contents of State of Play streams and even the recent PS5 exclusive announcement articles. Being pushed to the periphery has led to disgruntled senior staff resignations, while lower-level employees have most recently been frustrated by the timing of these layoffs to coincide with (and resultantly be overshadowed by) the next-generation console reveal.
It’s unclear whether the timing was intentional, but either way, we wish everyone impacted by the recent layoffs all the best in their future endeavors.