July 22, 2024

Sony Reshuffles Leadership at Video Game Unit

TOKYO — Sony said Wednesday that it would reshuffle the management of its video game unit, two months after an extensive hacker attack forced the electronics giant to shut down its popular PlayStation Network.

Kazuo Hirai, the president and chief executive of the unit, Sony Computer Entertainment, will be replaced by Andrew House, the current head of the unit’s European business, Sony said in a statement. The changes are effective Sept. 1, the company said.

Mr. House will spearhead the company’s PlayStation strategy, especially the release of the PlayStation Vita, its next-generation handheld game machine.

Vita’s release comes at a time when portable gaming devices must compete with phones and other gadgets that are luring players away with cheap, downloadable games.

Mr. House must also contend with a growing threat from hackers, who have staged a flurry of attacks on Web sites and services in recent months, including several run by Sony.

In mid-April, the company was forced to shut down its PlayStation Network, which lets users download games or play games online, after a hacker attack compromised personal information from up to 100 million accounts. After a monthlong scramble by Sony to bolster its online security, the network was restarted in most countries.

Sony has estimated that the recovery from the breach will cost about ¥14 billion, or $173 million.

Mr. House, who joined Sony in 1990, has worked in corporate communications and marketing, and worked on the introduction of Sony’s original PlayStation game console. He has headed Sony Computer Entertainment’s European unit since May 2009.

Mr. Hirai, meanwhile, is seen as a front-runner to eventually replace Sony’s chief executive, Howard Stringer, who is in his seventh year at the helm of the Tokyo-based company.

Mr. Hirai, who has been chief executive of the video game unit since December 2006, will continue to oversee the gaming business as the unit’s chairman, Sony said.

He will also retain his post as executive deputy president of the entire Sony group, where he is in charge of Sony’s many consumer electronics lines, including its Bravia TVs and CyberShot digital cameras.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=72b34de00359f551f0ee448aa8ec42fc

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