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Sony Interactive Entertainment is reducing its international workforce, with much of the staff reduction affecting its PlayStation Studios division. Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios, announced the cutbacks in an online statement last Wednesday while emphasising the importance of the group’s need for transparency. 

In the statement, Hulst details the reasons for the reductions while pointing out the need for PlayStation Studios to re-examine the group’s operating strategies:

“Our goal at PlayStation Studios has always been to make the best games for PlayStation fans, and our global community of studios represent some of the most creative and talented teams within the gaming industry.   PlayStation 5 is in its fourth year, and we are at a stage where we need to step back and look at what our business needs.  

At the same time, our industry has experienced continuing and fundamental change which affects how we all create, and play games. Delivering the immersive, narrative-driven stories that PlayStation Studios is known for, at the quality bar that we aspire to, requires a re-evaluation of how we operate.”

With PlayStation 5 games being extremely popular for betting on amongst esports fans, the news will interest many international online punters. For example, as Khadija Bilal, an accomplished writer for Sports Talk Philly out of the US state of Pennsylvania, explains: 

“Pennsylvania legalized sports betting long before PASPA was repealed, making it quick and easy for the state to introduce legal mobile betting apps for bettors in the state to use when the Supreme Court repealed the legislation mentioned above. Today, there are more than 10 PA betting apps for bettors in the state to download and enjoy.” (source: https://www.sportstalkphilly.com/pa/betting-apps

Pennsylvania is thought to be the 10th-most gaming-obsessed state in the US, so the state also likely has a large esports betting market. 

Although the PlayStation Studios news is unlikely to directly impact how gamers and esports bettors access their betting apps, either in the US or across Europe, changes Sony is implementing could affect the emergence of future game titles from the network. This in turn will leave esports fans with fewer options for new games to watch and bet on. 

In Europe, PlayStation Studios’ London Studio will close entirely, and there will be reductions in staff at the Guerrilla and Firesprite studios, co-developers of the VR title Horizon Call of the Mountain, among others. Smaller reductions will take place at other PlayStation studios across the European continent.

US PlayStation studios are also affected. Insomniac Games, responsible for the recently-released PS5 Marvel title Spider-Man 2, and Naughty Dog, which brought us the popular The Last of Us series, will lose some of their staff contingent. 

There will also be staff reductions in PlayStation Studios Technology, Creative, and Support teams across Europe and the US, with the total number of employees losing their jobs likely to reach the 900 mark, around 8% of the group’s total workforce.

Hermen Hulst touched on PlayStation’s growth over the years while ending his statement by confirming that some PlayStation projects will discontinue:

“But growth itself is not an ambition. PlayStation Studios is committed to continually discovering ways to work together; collaborating and combining our efforts to ensure that we are able to craft games that push the boundaries of play and deliver what you expect from us.  

We looked at our studios and our portfolio, evaluating projects in various stages of development, and have decided that some of those projects will not move forward. I want to be clear that the decision to stop [working] on these projects is not a reflection [of] the talent or passion of team members. 

Our philosophy has always been to allow creative experimentation. Sometimes, great ideas don’t become great games. Sometimes, a project is started with the best intentions before shifts within the market or industry result in a change of plan.”

While Sony Interactive Entertainment and PlayStation Studios reassess their future strategies, online gamers and esports bettors remain secure in the fact that, while there may be a shift in upcoming PS5 game releases, their existing online gaming experiences should not change and could likely improve in the future.

 

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