Sony has officially announced that John Kodera has stepped down as president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), making way for previous SIE deputy president Jim Ryan to take the position.

Kodera is moving to a position in the company where he will “dedicate his focus on creating innovative user experiences and further enhancing the network area as Deputy President of SIE,” a Sony press statement maintains. Kodera will also be SIE’s representative director.

Like Kodera before him, Ryan will report directly to Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony Corporation.

Yoshida says the management restructuring will allow Kodera to further develop PlayStation Network (PSN), letting SIE “accelerate its innovation and evolution even further.” Kodera is also expected to lead the Sony Group’s DX (Digital Transformation) strategy.

Jim Ryan, Image courtesy EuroGamer

While Sony hasn’t mentioned virtual reality into today’s news, Ryan seems to be a stalwart proponent of the technology. Speaking to the Telegraph at Paris Games Week 2017, Ryan said “we definitely see [VR] as having the potential to be a very significant part of the future of interactive entertainment. Now quite what the horizon is and quite what the rate of pace of adoption is, that’s still a little unclear. But Sony is committed to this and we’re in it for the long haul.”

Talking to Time back in June 2017, Ryan also saw a few important things specific to VR hardware that needs addressing before it achieves true mass market success.

“Technology cycles are shortening, and there’s no reason to expect VR to be any exception to that,” Ryan says. “If we have aspirations to take this into a mass market space, clearly things will need to happen to the form factor, whether it’s wireless or a lighter headset or all of these things.”

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Ryan is also known for his unfavorable stance on backwards compatibility, saying in the same interview that the notion simply isn’t worthwhile.

“When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,” Ryan maintains. “That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

Ryan joined Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe (SIEE) in 1994. Taking over as SIEE president in 2011, he later moved on to head of global sales and marketing at SIE in April 2016. Ryan has served a deputy president of SIE since January 2018.

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  • jj

    “When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,” Ryan maintains. “That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

    uh thats stupid, there are tons of games i want to play still that i can only play if i buy the playstation now… like red dead redemption 1 for example….

    • jj

      but who knows, they said they did the research

    • MosBen

      Wait, it’s available on Xbox as well, no?

      And the idea that backwards compatibility isn’t something that lots of people use is something that’s been talked about for a long time. It’s a feature that looks good on a console box or in ads in the first year or so of a console’s life, but beyond that there are usually enough current-gen games that it’s not something that’s talked about much. The reality seems to be that the desire to play classic games, particularly games from the early 3D era, is a real niche activity, with perhaps the notable exception of older 1st party Nintendo games.

      • jj

        but im a sony fanboy, i’d never play xbox!! jk but i do not feel like buying one just for backwards comparability and i have these games on ps. not to mention i do have the older systems still available, but it would just be convenient to play them on one system. :/ lol but yeah theyre compatible on xbox.

        plus a good portion of the best games have been remastered and released for these systems and the playstation/xbox network.

        and right, so like they said, we think we want it but if we had we wouldn’t use it.
        side note: before releasing ps4, sony said they’d announce a firmware update allowing backwards compatibility later. Then later announced it was never possible. This really sucked and i remember it vividly because i really wanted it at the time and was watching them like a hawk

        • MosBen

          I’ve certainly appreciated that a lot of games that I loved on the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 are now available to me on my Xbox One, and I’ve gone back and played a few, including Red Dead Redemption. But for better or worse, people like us are in the minority. Everyone else is playing Overwatch, Fortnite, or Destiny.

          • jj

            how could you forget Apex legends and Sea of thieves?!?! just kidding
            but yeah youre right we must just be part of the minority here

          • jj

            so it looks like others are chiming in above with some great points of why they should have backwards compat. so were not the only ones and were not crazy for thinking they should have it

          • MosBen

            Oh sure, but the question is whether it makes sense for a company to invest the resources to implement a feature if not that many people use it. I’m certainly not an expert in this kind of thing, but it seems like MS made a concerted effort to make it easy to port games to and from the Xbox fairly early on, which may be paying dividends now in making it cheaper to make backwards compatibility work for older games on the Xbox One. Meanwhile the PS2 was notoriously difficult to program for and to emulate, so maybe it’s just not worth it for the PS4.

  • Thunk

    This guy’s stance on backwards compatibility is ridiculous. You can tell he’s just another clueless middle aged suit, who doesn’t genuinely care about games or gaming culture.

    • MosBen

      I mean, the idea that it’s inconceivable that people want to play games with non-cutting edge graphics is taking it too far, but it’s pretty likely that the people who want backwards compatibility are a very vocal minority and the reality is that not many people actually play older games on newer systems, particularly after the first year or so.

      • Thunk

        It’s not just about replaying your old games, but preserving the nature of physical media. For instance, how cool would it be if you could go to a shop, buy a 2002 PS2 game, insert it in to your PS5 and the game just works? I think most gamers would agree that it would be a brilliant feature. It’s just a shame Sony doesn’t see things the same way.

        • MosBen

          Eh, I don’t really think that that would be so amazing. I remember back in those days getting all kinds of disc read errors from scratched discs and failing drives. Making physical media readers that can read all of the various formats out there is a lot of cost for not a lot of benefit, either to the community of players or to the company. If someone has a collection of PS2 games that they’d like to play or they pick up a used PS3 game somewhere, Sony doesn’t see any money from that purchase, nor does the developer. And most gamers don’t have such a collection or desire to track down old media. Every feature that a company adds to their gaming console takes time and money, so each feature needs to add value commensurate with how much it costs to add in.

          Even software backwards compatibility is likely a tough decision, particularly if you’re emulating something as difficult to emulate as the PS2. But hardware backwards compatibility, where any Playstation disk going back to the 1990s would be supported by the current machine, is just a money sink for no return.

          • Thunk

            Well Microsoft sure found a way to achieve it and it’s one of the best selling points of the XBox One, atm.

            With the PS5, we can pretty much guarantee it’ll be backwards compatible with PS4, due to the likeliness of if using the same x86 architecture. And if they’re using a multi-core Ryzen CPU, then there’s a good chance it will be able to software emulate PS3 and below relatively well, as the multi-core Ryzen CPUs have proven to be rather good for the RPCS3 emulator.

            So, I don’t really see it being a technical limitation with PS5, it’s just a matter of whether Sony will have the good will to actually bother to implement it. But like you said, it probably doesn’t benefit Sony all that much financially, and with Sony being a scummy company in general, I don’t really see it happening.

          • MosBen

            I mean, it’s a good selling point for people that care about it, but it remains to be seen whether it’s something that huge amounts of people care about. As I said, it’s just a question of how much work/money it takes to implement versus how much interest/revenue it can generate. MS made the probably smart move to make it pretty easy to port games from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox 1, which probably made it a much easier decision to release those older games. The PS2 was notoriously complex, which explains why we don’t see those games showing up in backwards compatibility on the PS4. I don’t remember with as much specificity about the PS3, but I seem to remember that it was an improvement over the PS2, but not as straightforward as the Xbox 360.

            But I don’t think that Sony is scummy for ignoring BC (they may be scummy for other reasons). It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a lot of time, money, and effort implementing a feature that only appeals to a niche of your audience that won’t justify the expense.

          • Thunk

            Actually Sony got the PS2 emulator working for PS4, as there are quite a lot of PS2 games you can buy for the PS4 on PSN: https://store.playstation.com/en-us/grid/STORE-MSF77008-PS2GAMESONPS4G/1

            I believe they literally hired one of the guys who made the PCSX2 emulator, which has a high compatibility rate, and would likely run perfectly fine on what ever CPU Sony has planned for PS5, which is seemingly likely going to be Ryzen based.

          • MosBen

            Cool. Good info! Still, my basic point is that Sony would do it if there was a body of players there to justify the cost and they were aware of it. It’s possible that whatever it is that they’re using to estimate interest in BC is super flawed, but I’d tend to think that it’s more likely that the people that like to play older games are just kind of a rare breed compared to the people that want to play new games.

        • impurekind

          And the second part to that is that is means owning physical games would continue to have value even on newer consoles. I mean, already physical games just have far more inherent value than digital–you can trade them in if you’re short on cash, hand them down to your siblings to play when you’re done with them, pull them out and play them 20 years down the line or show them to your mates without worrying about digital services not being there so you can’t even access them, you get physical boxes with cool artwork and similarly cool manuals, etc–and then also being able to play them on the latest console too would just be another added bonus.

    • Jistuce

      I’ve heard the same argument from gamers before, so…

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    “Why would anyone want to play ‘ancient’ games” is almost as ludicrous as that “Don’t you guys have phones?” quote from Blizzcon :D Having said that it’s great they’re in VR for the long haul and yeah I’m sure a lot of people ask for backwards compatibility and then never take advantage of it. So yeah it makes total sense and I get that – just don’t bellitle retro gamers please :) People watch “ancient” movies and no one ask them why would they ever do that ;p

  • impurekind

    Whether he gets backwards compatibility of not, I really think it’s a feature that all modern consoles should have at this point. Playing games on my SNES Mini has been some of the most fun I’ve had in generations, and frustrates me no end that Nintendo never saw fit to give Switch owners a proper evolution of the amazing Virtual Console that it started on the Wii. To me, that kind of retro support is a system seller, personally, as just one really cool feature for a console/system to have. But maybe it’s just that Sony doesn’t have anywhere near as awesome a retro library as Nintendo. I mean, Sony really only has 3D games to fall back on, and the first generation of those games hold up pretty badly, whereas so many of the classic 2D games are just as much fun to play and even look at now as they ever were. Still, I don’t care what he says, I want every new console-type system to support as much backwards compatibility as humanly possible. Microsoft gets that at least.

  • oompah

    “why would anybody play this?”
    Nostalgia man, nostalgia
    & ppl’d pay for that,
    u want cash?
    my suggestion: businesses should keep all options open.
    I’d love to keep skyrim with me forever.
    Also in VR, I’d prefer a headset that
    combines both playstation & PSVR within itself
    i.e. a totally independent system w/o wires like oculus quest
    & still be able to play mainstream games.
    Also TV could be connected over wifi to
    show whats happening in VR headset.

  • C-Shepard

    Where do they find these old fossils? Is this guy for real making statements “why would anyone play PS1 and PS2 games”? This guy clearly doesn’t realize most games today are sequels from those existing consoles. Take RE2 for example, this guy hasn’t a clue, Wow.