It’s official: Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio is undergoing reorganization, which explains the string of recent high-profile departures.
This news came straight from the horse’s mouth following a Video Games Chronicle report that Sony is scaling down game development in one of its oldest studios as part of its efforts to make games with global appeal. In a statement to IGN, Sony said that Japan Studio is being “re-centered” around Astro’s Playroom developer, Team Asobi.
In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm PlayStation Studios JAPAN Studio will be re-organized into a new organization on April 1. JAPAN Studio will be re-centered to Team ASOBI, the creative team behind Astro’s PLAYROOM, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and build on the popularity of Astro’s PLAYROOM.
In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of JAPAN Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios.
Sony doesn’t typically address rumors and speculations so its statement understandably doesn’t counter any of the claims made in VGC’s report. According to the website’s sources, Japan Studio hasn’t been profitable for a while, and Sony wants to develop games for a wider audience. It looks like the writing has been on the wall for Japan Studio for quite some time, if executive-level changes are any indication.
For its part, Sony has repeatedly said that Japan remains important to the company. Most recently, SIE CEO Jim Ryan said that Sony enjoys a good relationship with Japanese licensees and will continue to strengthen its relationship with them.