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November 30, 2006

Shakeup at Sony: PS3 to blame?

Posted by Kim Peterson at 11:23 AM

Sony shuffles its top dogs in its Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) gaming group in a chain of "promotions." What does it all mean? First, the facts:

Ken Kutaragi has been moved from president to chairman, and retains his Group CEO title. Kaz Hirai, who previously headed up Sony's PlayStation team in America, moves into Kutaragi's old position as president of all of SCE. That could mean a move to Japan for Hirai.

It sounds like Kutaragi will still oversee Sony's games business but might have less responsibility over day-to-day operations.

As far as the American team goes, Sony has moved Jack Tretton into Hirai's old position heading up SCE America. Tretton was previously an executive vice president for that team.

Numerous observers have interpreted this as a demotion for Kutaragi after a fairly disastrous PlayStation 3 launch. Today brings word of yet another disappointment: the chief of Electronics Arts said Sony was only able to get 200,000 PS3s to the U.S. for launch, about half of what the company had promised.

And people are still talking about a Newsweek report that said Sony lost out on exclusive access to two smokin' hot properties - "Grand Theft Auto IV" and "Assassin's Creed" - because Kutaragi dragged his feet on cementing deals with the games' publishers. Meanwhile, Microsoft was calling them every day. The end result is that those two games will debut on the Xbox 360 as well as the PS3.

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