This afternoon, Sony announced that Sony Online Entertainment would now report to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. To find out what all this means, WarCry spoke to SOE President John Smedley.
“Nothing has changed inside SOE at all,” Smedley said. “It’s nice to be part of the Playstation group; we’re excited about it.”
Practically speaking, this is apparently a simple change in who Smedley calls boss. Previously, SOE had been under the Sony Pictures corporate umbrella and its President Yair Landau. Now, SOE is under the SCEI group, which is the corporate name for the Playstation or gaming division, and its President Kazuo Hirai.
“We’re going home is the way I look at it,” Smedley added.
It’s true that the change in structure represents a full circle for SOE. Originally, they produced EverQuest as Verant under the SCEA banner, only to be bought by Landau and folded into Sony Pictures.
The new alignment would seem to be more in line with the work they had already been doing, especially with Playstation 3 versions of DC Universe Online and The Agency on the way and their work on the Playstation 3’s online services.
Smedley was careful to note that the change should not have any day-to-day impact on SOE’s operations, save that it will allow them to more closely leverage the Playstation brand and marketing organization.
“We have very much a renewed focus on making sure we don’t put out a game too early,” he said, reiterating his comments at last month’s GDC. On the surface, it would seem that being part of a corporate structure whose core focus is gaming would make that quest more attainable. Smedley did mention, though, that he had nothing but good things to say for the support he has received from Sony Pictures over the years. Nonetheless, he is happy to move to the gaming group.
“Being part of the Playstation family is exciting and offers us a lot of great opportunity,” is all he would say when asked what, if any, new projects the new corporate alignment might lead to.