Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio downsizing, but ASOBI Team remains [Update: Confirmed]

AsterPhoenix

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Aug 21, 2008
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The sources claimed that Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio simply has not been profitable enough in recent years. While it wanted to create games that appealed to the Japanese market first with hopes of global appeal, the larger organization wanted it to create the kind of global hits other PlayStation Studios produce.
Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan hinted at this strategy in an interview back in November 2019, stating, “The nature of AAA PlayStation 4 and certainly PlayStation 5 development… We’re obviously not going to have Worldwide Studios make a game for one specific European country. That might have been the case back in the PSP times with Invizimals [which was popular in Spain]. I think this will be where Shuhei Yoshida’s new task [of working with indies] will come in. If we are nimble, flexible, and global, we can work with smaller developers to allow those countries’ specific needs to be met.”
One source suggested Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio’s fate was sealed after Astro’s Playroom and Astro Bot Rescue Mission director Nicolas Doucet was promoted to studio director following the departure of long-time president Allan Becker. Another said this was part of Sony Interactive Entertainment shifting its headquarters from Japan to the United States.
In an interview earlier this week, Jim Ryan was unable to comment on any new titles that may be in development at Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio, but hinted that we may see more from ASOBI Team in the future. He also commented, “Sony Interactive Entertainment has strong ties with Japanese licensees, so going forward we would like to continue to strengthen that cooperation and develop titles made in Japan for PlayStation fans around the world.”
The downsizing report corroborates a Bloomberg report from November 2020, which cited former employees in claiming, “Japan-based developer support teams have been reduced by as much as a third from their peak, and the rolling contracts of a number of game creators at PlayStation’s Japan Studio, one of the unit’s oldest in-house software ateliers, haven’t been renewed.”
The downsizing report comes following the departure of Masaaki Yamagiwa earlier today, who was a producer on Bloodborne, Deracine, and Tokyo Jungle. Video manager Ryo Sogabe and the studio’s Brendan Pritchard also recently announced their departure.
Prior to today, Teruyuki Toriyama, who was also a producer on Bloodborne, as well as the Demon’s Souls remake, Soul Sacrifice, and others, left Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio back in December. And Silent Hill, Siren, and Gravity Rush creator Keiichiro Toyama left alongside colleagues Kazunobu Sato and Junya Okura left earlier that month to form the independent Bokeh Game Studio.
Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Studio is Sony Interactive Entertainment’s oldest first-party studio. It was established in November 1993 and has produced over 300 games.
A Sony Interactive Entertainment representative did not respond to our request for comment in time for publishing.
This is very sad news. Had a feeling this was going on. Sony has always felt more like a Western company than a Japanese company. Made it's success from Western IPs so from their side of things it's understandable.

Creating new JP IPs and RPGs from Sony is slipping further and further from reality. SIE JP Studios is run mostly by Westerners regardless.

I understand a while ago this is why Andrew House left. Plus things have been changing greatly with Sony moving to California.
 

AsterPhoenix

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Aug 21, 2008
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#3
Yeah despite the good quality side of things Sony feels like 100% western. Yeah I missed the times they would collaborate with companies such as Level 5. It's sad.


Yeah Jim Ryan is more of a suit man rather than a gamer.

Sony has become a lot more political. Years ago they wouldn't do that all due to the move to California.

If Sony were smart enough they should of purchased Cygames or Atlus and let them do their thing.

The reality is Microsoft is not any better if not worse.

Isn't Western society suppose to be open to many different cultures.
 
Dec 20, 2006
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I've been liking Microsoft's approach more lately.

Sony is still downsizing or managing their existing first party studios while MS is clearly in a growth only phase.

The Zenimax/Bethesda purchase eclipsed any acquisition Sony has done.

I predict that Sony won't have a single acquisition this entire generation that will be worth even a quarter of that.
 

AsterPhoenix

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Aug 21, 2008
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#5
Sony is a studio that gets good new studios to do exclusive games and if they are good they buy them. Sony buying a giant 3rd party publisher is unlikely.

With MS buying Bethesda I see some more exclusives on their end. One positive from this that Sony gets more competition and needs to be better to it's smaller JP publishers like it was in the past.

If not it's going to bite Sony. Next gen so far for me is a joke. 100% Westernised. Staying with PS4 and Switch for some time.

If it weren't for PS games which come first to the platform such as Trails,Ys and Persona as well as some HD offerings and cheap sales I would stick with the Switch.
 

AsterPhoenix

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Aug 21, 2008
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#6
https://www.gematsu.com/2021/03/gra...s-sony-interactive-entertainment-japan-studio

Another one leaving before restructuring to Team Asobi. Shunsuke Saito the character designer for Gravity Rush games.

That money greed. Jim Ryan this is going to be a big mistake treating JP devs bad.

I get that JP Studio doesn't make as much money like from big blockbusters. But treating all developers equally will bring you a long way which you have done in the past. It counts in the long run.

But as for now Sony your going back to the PS3 days if things go south.