John “Tsuyoshi” Kodera will become the new president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, Sony announced. The current president and global CEO, Andrew House, is stepping down and will transition from operational management of SIE, but will remain with SIE as Chairman through the year to ensure a smooth transition. Kodera was also appointed Representative Director and President of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc., SIE’s Japan-based legal entity, with House becoming Director and Chairman of the entity.
Here’s everything you need to know about SIE’s new president and CEO.
1. Kodera Has Been With Sony Corporation Since 1992
Kodera joined Sony Corporation in 1992 in the planning and control department within Sony’s portable audio business, according to the press release. He was transferred to Sony Electronics Inc. in the U.S. in 1998, where he as assigned to planning and control for portable and mobile products. He was then appointed VP of product management for IT products such as PCs. He became SVP of Corporate Strategy at Sony Network Entertainment International LLC in 2010 and in 2013 was appointed president.
2. Kodera Oversaw the Launch of Several Key PlayStation Services
Kodera oversaw the launch and growth of services revolving around the PlayStation Network platform including the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus subscription service, PlayStation Now, PlayStation Vue, PlayStation Video, and PlayStation Music. He also worked closely with House on the overall management of the game and network services business including product development, business strategy and system and network engineering.
3. Other Sony Executives Think Highly of Him
Kodera played a pivital role in the growth of Sony’s Network Service Business, said President and CEO of Sony Corporation Kazuo Hirai. Hirai is confident in Kodera’s abilities.
He is a truly global executive, possessing strategic understanding, strength of conviction and outstanding leadership capabilities. Since his appointment as Deputy President of SIE last year, alongside Andy [Andrew House] he has also been responsible for the company’s overall business strategy and product planning. With the significance of network services increasing across the entire Sony Group, I believe that John is ideally equipped to build on the foundations Andy has left in place, and drive Sony’s game and network services business to further growth and excitement going forward.
House added to the praise, saying that Kodera and his team are “world-class and I know the future of PlayStation is very bright.”
This is what Kodera said in regards to his new position:
It’s a great honor to take on the role of President and CEO, SIE, and I’m very grateful to Kaz and Andy for the trust and faith they have shown in me. I intend to build on the amazing progress Andy has made enhancing the PlayStation brand and expanding the game and network services business, and will strive to further strengthen the unique value proposition we are able to offer via the PlayStation platform. I look forward to working together with the SIE team, and everyone across the Sony Group, to continue to strengthen relations with our business partners, and provide the best possible interactive entertainment experiences, that only PlayStation can deliver.
According to Bloomberg, Kodera got his B.A. from Gakushuin University in Tokyo, Japan.
4. He Is Succeeding Andrew House
Andrew House joined Sony in 1990 where he first served in corporate communications at Sony headquarters. He moved to marketing and communications at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) in 1995 and contributed to the launch of the first PlayStation. He was appointed President and Group CEO of SCE in 2011, where he was responsible for the PlayStation business worldwide. He was heavily involved in the strategy and launch of the PlayStation 4, the fastest-growing platform in PlayStation history with over 78 million units sold this fiscal year according to the press release. He was also responsible for centering Sony’s network services strategy around PSN and oversaw the launch of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Vue. In 2016, he brought together SCE and Sony Network Entertainment International LLC (SNEI) into SIE. He also oversaw the development and launch of PlayStation VR.
5. Andrew House Dismissed Handheld Gaming Market
House said that the global potential for handheld gaming in the age of smartphones is limited, according to Bloomberg Technology. He also said that the company doesn’t have any concrete plans to take on the Nintendo Switch.
“The Nintendo device is a hybrid device and that’s a different approach and strategy,” House said during Tokyo Game Show. “We have not seen that as being a huge market opportunity.”
Sony’s focus is to deliver more products and services for the living room including VR and services like PlayStation Vue and Music through the PS4. Sony also established it’s own studio to create games for mobile devices last year known as ForwardWorks.
“The Vita experience was that outside of Japan and Asia, there was not a huge demand,” House said. “The lifestyle shift toward the dominance of smartphones as the single key device that is always with you, was the determining factor.”
Kotaku UK reports that the PlayStation Vita’s unit sales never reached 10 million. It’s predecessor, the PlayStation Portable, reached around 80 million. By comparison, the Nintendo DS sold 155 million units and the 3DS sold around 70 million units.