Sony has announced sales of 800,000 Playstation 3 units in Europe, leading Sony CEO Howard Stringer to declare the European launch a success. However, as it continues to work toward greater profitability, the company has informed its employees of upcoming layoffs that could affect up to 160 people.
In an article in the Financial Times, Stringer is quoted as saying, "I think (in) the first two days in the UK, £100 million ($199 million) revenue changed hands, and that's probably the largest consumer electronics sale in history."
Stringer suggested that the console had not fallen victim to "the perception wars" that plagued it in Japan, and that the impressive performance of the PlayStation 3 in Europe may be due at least in part to the greater selection of games available there, saying, "Perhaps we lived up to the expectations in Europe in a way that perhaps we didn't in Japan."
In spite of these strong sales, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe chief David Reeves warned on the same day that up to 160 staff, "across all areas of the business," could be facing layoffs.
In spite of a predicted turnaround in Sony's games division, Sony is continuing to strive for increased profitability, and an internal memo alerting staff to the potential layoffs cited a need to reduce the company's cost base.
The letter states that all sectors of the business have been examined to determine where changes can be made, and goes on to read, "Regrettably, we must also now look at the possibility of making compulsory redundancies in the UK offices, in WWS studios in Europe and in our territory offices."
While saying in the memo that SCEE is "committed to taking every possible measure to minimize the effect of any redundancies," Reeves concludes by saying that while Sony has attempt to avoid this course, "The business targets that we face have regrettably made it unavoidable."
All Sony Computer Entertainment Europe employees will be issued a letter by the close of business on Wednesday, informing them of whether or not they are at risk of a layoff. Individual consultations with employees facing redundancy will then be held, in an attempt to minimize the number of layoffs and the impact on those affected.