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Xbox boss Phil Spencer praises “fierce” Jim Ryan amid PlayStation exit

PlayStation lead Jim Ryan announces his retirement as CEO and president of SIE and Xbox boss Phil Spencer pays tribute to his leadership and contributions.

PlayStation Jim Ryan retirement: Aloy from Horizon Forbidden West and Jim Ryan

In a rather unexpected turn of events, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) CEO and president Jim Ryan is announcing his retirement from the company after almost 30 years of service. Despite only stepping into the role of CEO and president in 2019, this PlayStation Jim Ryan retirement marks the end of an era for the company. Paying tribute to his long-time peer, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says “thank you” and praises Ryan’s leadership and contributions to the gaming industry as a whole.

On September 27, seemingly out of the blue, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan shared his plans to step down as president and CEO of SIE. If you’re not sure what this is, it’s the Sony Group Corporation company that deals with the PlayStation brand as a whole. That means it’s in charge of all the upcoming PS5 games, all the consoles, and everything else with the PlayStation logo slapped onto it. So, the fact that the CEO and president is retiring is a pretty big deal.

Commenting on this via X (formerly Twitter), Spencer says the following:

“Jim Ryan has been a great contributor to our industry and a fierce leader for PlayStation. I wish him the best in what he does next. Thank you for all you’ve done for the community over the last 30 years, Jim.”

It’s classy enough from Spencer, but not overly emotional. When you think about how Jim Ryan was largely opposed to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it makes a lot of sense. It’s still a nice gesture and a nice sentiment to leave their working relationship – as industry peers – with now it’s coming to an end.

PlayStation Jim Ryan retirement: a statement from Phil Spencer

In his statement, however, which you can read for yourself on the Sony Interactive Entertainment site here, Ryan explains that he’s going to continue in his role as president and CEO until March 2024 – seeing out the current financial year. Then, kicking off the next financial year, Hiroki Totoki is going to be appointed Interim CEO of SIE until a long-term solution is found. As of right now, Totoki is COO and president of the Sony Group Corporation – so, we don’t think this effective step down will be permanent.

Touching on his reason for retirement, despite only being 64 years of age, Ryan explains that he’s “been finding it increasingly difficult to strike the right balance between having [his] home in the UK and [his] job in the United States”. When you couple this with the semi-regular trips to Japan to meet with his peers within the Sony Group Corporation, it’s safe to say that this job requires a lot of travel.

Do we know who’s going to replace him, eventually, though? Not yet, and we might not find out for quite a while. PlayStation fans are already throwing names around, but there’s a case for and against almost every candidate – as you might expect when it comes to a job of this magnitude.

Shuhei Yoshida, for example, is an excellent choice. A veteran of the industry and PlayStation, he acted as president of SIE Worldwide Studios from 2008 to 2019 and is currently Head of Independent Developer Initiative for the company. However, would he be the right fit after the 2019 reshuffle that saw him replaced by Hermen Hulst – another prospective candidate, according to PlayStation fans? Hulst became head of PlayStation Studios in 2019 after almost two decades at Guerrilla Games.

Here’s a recent Q&A with Jim Ryan and some of PlayStation’s leaders, all of which could technically be the next CEO.

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With Jim Ryan “very optimistic for the future of Sony Interactive Entertainment” and another six months of work ahead of him, we can imagine we will have a clearer picture of who will step into the role on a more permanent basis by March 2023. For now, we’re not even sure if SIE will look internally for someone to fill the position, or bring someone in from outside. All we know right now is that there might be some change coming to PlayStation in the next few years – and that’s very exciting.

If you need something to cheer you up as a die-hard Jim Ryan PlayStation fan, or not, you can check out our picks for the best PS5 games out there right now. We recommend looking into the best PS5 SSD options, too. Your console will have some storage space, but with what’s coming up, you’re going to want more – trust us.