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    Jim Ryan

    Person » credited in 1 games

    A veteran of the PlayStation team's European division.

    Jim Ryan Set To Retire In March 2024. How Do You Rank/Rate His Tenure?

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    ZombiePie

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    #1 ZombiePie  Staff

    As the above Tweet shares, Jim Ryan is retiring from Sony after a tenure of almost thirty years with the company. Hiroki Totoki, president/COO/CFO of Sony will serve as interim CEO of the games division as he assists the company in finding a permanent successor.

    Recently, the man has made headlines for justifying the worldwide price changes to PSN, repeatedly refusing to engage with Sony enthusiasts, wanting Sony's portfolio to embrace games as a service as the future, walking back comments that he hates old games and backward compatibility, and sending an email to all employees in Sony's game division that everyone should "respect differences of opinion" on abortion rights following the Dobbs case overturning Roe v. Wade in the United States and then immediately transitioning into his two cats' birthdays, their habits, and his desire to get a dog in the same email.

    However, as Stephen Totilo put it best, recency bias aside, Ryan presided over the righting of the ship with the launch of the PS4, a huge PS5 launch during a global pandemic, the expansion of AAA titles onto digital PC marketplaces, major studio purchases (Bungie, Haven, Housemarque, Bluepoint, Et al.), and the launch of a VR division that has found a niche as one of the most recommended console VR headsets.

    With all of that in mind, how do you weigh the pros and cons of Jim Ryan's tenure? He was far from being a popular figure, but there's no denying that he was incredibly competent and shrewd with the many hats he has donned while at the PlayStation division. And more than anything else, he's the origin of one of the most memorable moments in Giant Bomb history:

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    bigsocrates

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    #2  Edited By bigsocrates  Online

    Obviously for Sony's business success he performed very well. Part of that is because Microsoft shot itself in the foot at the end of the 360 era and beginning of Xbox One (Don Matrick, truly the worst major console exec not working for Sega) but Sony made a lot of strong business decisions and put together some really well made hardware.

    Creatively I really don't like him. Don't get me wrong, Sony has some spectacular games, but his pushing blockbusters to the detriment of everything else (shutting down Japan Studios) and his vision of games as a disposable medium (Nobody wants to play old games) are strongly opposed to how I view games.

    Compare him to Phil Spencer and his clear passion for older games as well as smaller more niche projects (Microsoft has quietly put out some incredible small to mid size games like Pentiment and Hi Fi Rush recently) and I am much more a fan of Spencer's philosophy. Of course Spencer hasn't delivered the super successful blockbusters like Ryan has, so there's a strong counter argument there.

    But what I dislike most about Ryan is just the way he ran Sony as a fundamentally consumer unfriendly company. From their notoriously horrible customer support to their still pretty bad web store I feel like the company culture, which comes from the top, is just bad as a customer.

    Speaking of PSVR, did you know that if one of your PSVR2 controllers breaks you need to return the whole unit and pay half the price for a repair because there's literally no modularity in repairs? You can't just buy a new controller, or get the cord on your headset replaced if that breaks. Sony's response is "fuck you, pay us half the cost of a new unit."

    And that's just generally how Sony has been under Ryan. The hardware has been good, some of the games have been great, the brand has been a massive success, but the company has just this air of arrogance and disdain for its customers that makes me hope that whoever replaces Ryan will be the kind of person who thinks you can be profitable and provide good customer service, and that old games are worth having around.

    In other words I'm glad he's going and unless whoever replaces him is even worse I won't miss him. He's no Reggie, let alone an Iwata!

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    mellotronrules

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    #3  Edited By mellotronrules

    i have a hard time getting invested in the c-suite of any organization- they're just not living on the same planet i am, and for better or worse i have a barrier of skepticism that really prevents me attaching any feelings to them. call it reductive, but they exist more as AVATARS OF BRAND than people to me. they're sentient sport coats put on this planet to deliver value to shareholders in the name of consumers.

    that said, i dunno i guess he did alright. i like my PS4 and PS5 well enough, and i enjoy Sony 1st party output- so i don't have any real grievances to speak of.

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    Shindig

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    The overall picture was decent but then you could say that about anyone who's handled Sony post-PS3.

    I do think centring the business around Europe has dulled Sony's character a lot, though. It goes for most of the industry but there's no risk or adventure to it. Granted, they've not been in a position to need risks for a very, very long time.

    Not gonna entirely lay that at the feet of Ryan, either. That reorganisation was already happening under Layton. Ryan continued it with just some ... fucking quality soundbites over the years. That's not really going to shift unless Microsoft light a fire under them.

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    AV_Gamer

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    Simply put, he did his job and did it well. Under his leadership, Sony Playstation dominated after losing ground to Microsoft during the Xbox360/PS3 era. Results is all that matters in business and he got them.

    We'll see what happens from here on out.

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    cikame

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    He's definitely a businessman working at a company.

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    borgmaster

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    He won't be missed.

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    brian_

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    #8  Edited By brian_

    I don't know. My bar's pretty freaking low for businessmen. As long as you aren't threating death on employees or covering up mass sexual misconduct, you're going to rank pretty high by default. As far as just being in front of a camera goes, I prefer my businessmen dry and dull. Guys like Reggie and Phil always just give me Steve Buscemi "Hello, fellow kids" meme energy. It just never comes across as genuine to me. It feels like a marketing ploy. I prefer the transparency of the Jim Ryan type of businessman, being just a boring dude, running a company, and selling a product.

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    GTxForza

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    He badly managed the PlayStation brand and I remember that he mocked the past generations of video games as he only judged on graphics rather than other aspects including gameplay.

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    ThePanzini

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    #10  Edited By ThePanzini

    @gtxforza: Yet in that same vein responsible for Playstation Classics with Plus Premium.

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    bigsocrates

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    #11 bigsocrates  Online

    @thepanzini: Saying he was "responsible" for it is going a bit far. He allowed it to happen, but it's not like the CEO is involved in every little detail of what goes on at a company. Some subordinate pitched it and he said "sure, give it a shot I guess." And they did...to some degree, though the pace has been glacial.

    It's something they should have been doing a long time ago (and WERE on the PS3) though. To be fair to Ryan maybe I'm just a weirdo and the program doesn't and couldn't make any money and nobody really cares. Sony has the numbers, we don't.

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    ThePanzini

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    @bigsocrates: Hence my comment, if were judging Jims tenure for damaging the brand and a few poor remarks then the reverse would need to be true.

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    bigsocrates

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    #13 bigsocrates  Online

    @thepanzini: While I personally don't like a lot of Jim Ryan's comments or the way the company is run (shutting down Japan studio, the terrible customer support) I think it's had to argue that his tenure has been anything but a massive success financially or reputationally. PlayStation is ascendant in the market.

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