Ubisoft will be popping some bottles tonight.
On April 1st of this year, Kaz Hirai, who has been Sony CEO since 2012, will be stepping down. Hirai will become chairman of Sony’s board while Kenichiro Yoshida will be replacing him. This ends a significant period of time in which Kaz helped return Sony to a profitable state both within and outside of games. But it was Kaz’s strategy to focus on video games, along with mobile and digital imaging, that helped a struggling Sony recover. No initial word on how this will affect Kaz’s influence on Sony, but we can assume we won’t be seeing his face at too many more E3s.
Yoshida, Kaz’s replacement, has been Sony’s CFO since 2014 and, similarly to Mr. Hirai, has been with Sony since the 1980s. Unlike Kaz, Yoshida doesn’t have the deep history within Sony’s gaming divisions. However, Yoshida is becoming CEO as Sony is in a powerful position, especially in the video game market. With the best selling console and as the clear leader in 1st and 3rd party development, Yoshida has a wonderful head start to guide Sony into a good future in games.
As for Sony at large, Kaz’s departure as CEO marks a series of internal moves that has had a significant number of executives either leave or change positions. Maybe it’s similar to a sports team winning a big championship, there’s less to do now that you’re on top. No matter the reasons, Sony has a good position in the current gaming market, and we’ll just have to see if they can hold on to it.