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As He Walks Out The Door, Jim Ryan Thinks The PS5 Is Set Up To Be The Most Successful PlayStation Yet

Jim Ryan’s time at PlayStation and Sony is officially over, and as he’s leaving, according to him the PS5 is set up to become PlayStation’s most successful console yet.

In Ryan’s own words, speaking on the Official PlayStation Podcast, “I’d say right now we’re at the top of our game. We’ve been really clear and really consistent about what we stand for great consoles, great console gaming experience, and great games. I would say that right now we’re at the top of our game.”

“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, lead by PlayStation Studios, are the best that we’ve ever seen.”

Strong words from Ryan as he walks out the door, though there’s also the case of ‘well, what would you expect him to say’ as the former head of everything PlayStation at Sony.

Though a revised PS5 console sales forecast dropped the company’s valuation, the other side of that coin is the fact that software sales are consistently hitting record highs.

There’s also PlayStation’s strategy to continue including PC players into the ecosystem, which has already proved to be an excellent shift in strategy to keep sales increasing and re-purpose games that have potentially hit their sales cap on consoles.

Ryan has overseen all of this, and there’s credit due to him, at the very least, for playing a role in PlayStation’s strong positioning as he exits. But that doesn’t wholly outweigh what PlayStation has lost in the course of Ryan’s tenure.

The shuttering of Japan Studio and its re-formation into Team Asobi, the closure of PlayStation’s Manchester studio, Deviation Games not even getting the chance to prove itself before being shut down, and the layoffs announced this past February, which even impacted top teams within PlayStation Studios like Insomniac.

Ryan also kicked off a pivot to live service games, something that is still very unproven and we now know made developers within the studio feel “uncomfortable.”

While Helldivers 2 has been a roaring success to kick off this live-service push, that can and should be attributed far more to Arrowhead than PlayStation, a studio that isn’t actually a PlayStation Studios team.

Naughty Dog was even pushed to become a live service-focused studio, which the studio ultimately rejected in order to stay true to what it does best.

Not to mention layoffs at PlayStation Visual Arts, at Media Molecule, the shuttering of PixelOpus, and all of that isn’t even a full picture of the multiple mass layoffs Ryan oversaw.

All these layoffs and studio closures, and the PlayStation that Ryan has formed might add up to what you could say is the ‘most successful’ version of PlayStation, but it’s also become the most predictable, and personality-drained version of the platform ever.

It’s a PlayStation that prioritizes only the biggest experiences, massive cinematic-driven games that definitely still have their place, but don’t include the weird, out-of-left-field experiences that players and developers used to love the platform for.

PlayStation has lost that middle ground where it created experiences that perhaps opened players up to something wholly new. Something that is made even more wild to consider, when you remember Ryan has been with PlayStation since before the first console launched.

He’s seen the entire history of the platform unfold, and despite all that, when given the chance to sit in ‘the big chair,’ it’s led to the PlayStation we have today.

In today’s PlayStation, it’s increasingly unlikely we’ll get games like WipeOut, Everybody’s Golf, Sound Shapes, LocoRoco, Jak & Daxter, Sly Cooper, Ape Escape, MediEvil (to name a few) championed by PlayStation again.

As words of wisdom to his successor and each future entrant into the chief executive officer of SIE chair, Ryan says to “never forget that we’re an entertainment business. If we continue to entertain, delight, and surprise our community of gamers, I think Totoki-san and whoever follows him will be just fine.”

Another entry into The Last Of Us will surprise no one. Neither will sequels to any of PlayStation’s current big franchises, or another looter-shooter/extraction-shooter/pick-your-flavour live service game.

That’s the PlayStation we have to look forward to, at least for now. The only thing you could say that might be ‘surprising’ about any of that is if any of the coming live service efforts really do pan out, which can be said for any new live service game trying to enter the fray.

On top of the cultural losses PlayStation has suffered in Ryan’s time in the driver’s seat, which technically remain subjective, what isn’t is that Ryan is leaving a PlayStation that is running an ultimately unsustainable game plan.

Taking near a decade and spending hundreds of millions to develop each first party title, because all you focus on pushing out are these massive, AAA(A?) experiences leads to a rocky business, to say the least – something that’s old news, by this point, yet still Ryan and co. persisted.

At the end of the day we don’t see or know everything that happens on the inside. There could be plans right now to shift things in a more sustainable direction.

But if that’s the case then it means a more sustainable, future-proof PlayStation is coming with Ryan out the door.

Source – [Official PlayStation Podcast]