Hiroki Totoki becomes interim head of Sony Interactive Entertainment

Hiroki Totoki is taking over today as interim chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment, filling a role left open by the retirement of Jim Ryan.

Ryan decided in September to retire after 30 years at Sony, and Sony Group announced that Totoki would fill the role at that time. His titles include COO and president of Sony Group, the second highest-ranking executive role at Sony.

His responsibilities span strategic decision-making, financial oversight, and operational excellence. The role at SIE is a critical position for guiding the future of Sony’s game business, which along with the entire game industry has hit tough times lately with the decline of game play time in the wake of the pandemic. Sony Interactive Entertainment announced on February 27 it would lay off 900 people.

Totoki has navigated Sony through complex financial landscapes, with the goal of having stability and growth. Totoki will report to Sony Group’s Chairman and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida. While today is April Fool’s Day in the U.S., April 1 marks the start of the fiscal year for most Japanese companies.

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Ryan became head of SIE in 2019. During Ryan’s tenure, the company launched PlayStation 5 in the fall of 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.

The challenge for Totoki will be to maintain and grow Sony’s game revenues at a time when gamer demand has begun to dip. Sony has to keep a strong slate of high-profile exclusive Sony games to keep fans coming to its successful PlayStation brand. Totoki — or the permanent replacement for Ryan — will face tough questions such as how much of Sony’s resources to invest in live service games versus single-player games.

Back in September, he thanked Ryan and said in a statement, “We have discussed intensively and have determined the new management structure. We aim to achieve Sony Group’s further evolution and growth through bringing even greater success to the Game & Network Services Business.”