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As of today PlayStation no longer has a permanent boss

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Jim Ryan

Jim Ryan is no longer n charge of PlayStation (Picture: YouTube)

PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has officially left the company and his role has been taken over by an interim exec from Sony’s corporate board.

The last few months have seen a great deal of criticism aimed at Xbox boss Phil Spencer, thanks to the various controversies at Xbox and the fact that he happens to be celebrating 10 years in the job.

But it’s not as if PlayStation in general hasn’t been suffering similar volumes of complaints, it’s just that there’s been no figurehead to aim them at. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has been largely out of the public eye in the last two years and Sunday was his last day on the job, before retiring entirely.

There is currently no clue who is going to replace him on a permanent basis but in a final podcast for PlayStation, Ryan has insisted that ‘I’d say right now we’re at the top of our game.’

Much like everything that’s come out of Spencer’s mouth in the last year or so, that seems patently untrue, but Ryan insisted: ‘We’ve been really clear and really consistent about what we stand for: great consoles, great console gaming experiences, and great games.’

‘PlayStation 5 is well on track to be our most successful console ever across multiple vectors and I think the games and the gaming experiences you see on PlayStation 5, led by PlayStation Studios, are the best that we’ve ever seen.’

Not including ports, remasters, and remakes, PlayStation Studios (i.e. Sony’s first party developers) has only released one major title in the last 12 months, in Spider-Man 2, and is not expected to launch another until after next April.

Nevertheless, Ryan doubled down by saying: ‘The number of games we’ve published so far on PlayStation 5, at this point in the cycle, exceeds anything that we’ve ever done before.’

Unfortunately, because this was an official PlayStation Blog podcast, no one properly questioned his comments.

PlayStation 2 console

Still the most successful console ever (Picture: Sony)

Ryan’s use of the word ‘vectors’ implies he’s measuring the success of the PlayStation 5 by means other than the number of consoles it’s sold, such as monthly active users and number of hours played, but currently hardware sales are trending below PlayStation 4.

The PlayStation 5 is selling very well, around double that of Xbox Series X/S, but failed to meet its sales targets over Christmas, which exacerbated the current panic around budget levels for games and Sony’s unrequited love for live service games.

Ryan further muddied the waters by suggesting that the PlayStation 2 – the best-selling console of all-time – has sold 160 million units, when previously its total has always been given as 155.0 million.

Whether Ryan was just rounding up, or this is a more accurate number, is unclear but the fact that the 20+ year old console is still the best-seller is a key example of how concerned video game companies have become, at the fact that the market for video games console is not growing.

The extent of the PlayStation 2’s success was due to a lack of effective competition, in the Dreamcast, GameCube, and original Xbox, which is not a situation that’s ever been repeated.

Ryan has been at PlayStation for 30 years, but he leaves at a point where the whole concept of console gaming stands at a crossroads, with decades of Sony dominance now put into question by the uncertainty of their future plans.

This is all especially worrying because no replacement has been announced for Ryan, with Sony Group Corporation president and COO Hiroki Totoki acting as interim CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment from today.

It’s unclear when a permanent replacement will be revealed or who they might be, which is clearly not the best way to reassure fans worried that the company has become increasingly disorganised in recent years.

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