For the longest time, Sony’s organizational structure on video games didn’t make sense. Sony Computer Entertainment runs the worldwide PlayStation business. But Sony Online Entertainment — the makers of massively multiplayer online games such as EverQuest for the PC — always reported to a different group.
But games are games. And Sony has decided that SOE should now report to Kaz Hirai, the CEO of the PlayStation group. Until now, the online games division headed by John Smedley has reported to Sony Pictures Entertainment. That’s the movie division. I’m not sure what casting spells in EverQuest had to do with Spider-Man 3 movies. But that’s the way it was.
The divisions have moved closer together under the direction of CEO Howard Stringer, who doesn’t want warring camps anymore. They have have also moved closer since Sony launched the PlayStation Network, the online game service for the PlayStation 3. The network was under the supervision of Smedley, but consumers were of course using PS 3s to access the games on that network. The arrangement is effective April 1.
What does this mean? Look for more coordinated efforts between Sony in its console and PC gaming efforts. And you can also expect to see more online games, particularly massively multiplayer online games, debut on the PS 3. Last year, Sony said it was working with MMO games publisher NCSoft on future games.
Sony has been behind Microsoft in the online game service competition. Xbox Live has millions of subscribers for both its free and paid versions. Microsoft has been developing that service since its debut in 2002 and has a big lead on Sony in usage.