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Sony winding down Sony Japan


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Apparently sources are saying Sony's Japan studio is being wound down. After a recent sting of high profile folk leaving, it's no surprise but it's still disappointing. Easily my favourite studio of Sony's and has significantly reduced my interest in PlayStation going forward. :(

 

https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/sources-playstation-is-winding-down-sony-japan-studio/

 

Quote

The iconic developer behind Ape Escape, Gravity Rush and Knack has seen the vast majority of its development staff let go, the sources said, after their annual contracts were not renewed ahead of the company’s next business year, which begins April 1.

Localisation and business staff will remain in place and ASOBI Team – the group responsible for the Astro Bot games – will continue as a standalone studio within Sony Japan, it’s claimed.

Some Japan Studio staff will join ASOBI, we were told, while others have followed Silent Hill and Gravity Rush director Keiichiro Toyama – who left Japan Studio last year – to his new studio Bokeh.

It’s not entirely clear if the restructure has affected the studio’s External Development Department, which collaborated on games such as last year’s Demon’s Souls, but one person VGC spoke to suggested it would continue.

 

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This sucks. They’ve played a part in a lot of absolutely great games. I’d even say some all timers. Seems super short sighted to shut down what is obviously a very talented bunch of developers, both at making their own stuff but also as a support studio. Especially at a time when the competition are buying up talent left and right. 

 

On the positive side at least it seems Asobi survived.

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Well, that leaves Asobi as the only team within Sony making games I have any interest in. I may have started with the wrong console this generation :(

 

Edit: in fact, doesn't this leave Sony with virtually no in-house development presence outside of North America? You've got, what; London Studio, Asobi, Polyphony and Media Molecule as Japanese/UK studios, and then everyone else is based in the US. Hope everybody likes Cinematic Action!

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Lets face it hardly comes as a surprise. The Playstation has become a Western focused device - look at all the AAA blockbuster games of late all targeted largely at a Western audience. And the size of the Playstation 5 etc. We've had no games like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian of late - even the TLG started off on the PS3 and wasn't really build from the ground up as a PS4 game.

 

It will be interesting to see what is in the State Of Play presentation later on to see what games are in the pipeline and where they are taking the Playstation gaming experience. 

 

I miss the Sony of old sometimes where we used to get all sorts of experimental things, Buzz quiz with controllers, EyeToy etc. Although we did get PSVR I guess... :) 

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28 minutes ago, Wiper said:

Well, that leaves Asobi as the only team within Sony making games I have any interest in. I may have started with the wrong console this generation :(

 

Edit: in fact, doesn't this leave Sony with virtually no in-house development presence outside of North America? You've got, what; London Studio, Asobi, Polyphony and Media Molecule as Japanese/UK studios, and then everyone else is based in the US. Hope everybody likes Cinematic Action!


Guerrilla. 

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If they're keeping ASOBI, External Development, plus their localisation and business teams, what does this actually amount to? Obviously there's Toyama's team – presumably a number will follow him to Bokeh – but I'm not sure who else would be affected. Are the people that made Knack a distinct team?

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2 minutes ago, Vemsie said:


Guerrilla. 

 

I thought they'd killed them?

 

Edit: ah, no, that was Guerilla Cambridge, after the lovely-but-misunderstood RIGS :(

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19 minutes ago, MattyP said:

 

 

I miss the Sony of old sometimes where we used to get all sorts of experimental things, Buzz quiz with controllers, EyeToy etc. Although we did get PSVR I guess... :) 


that was all London Studio though, then all that bunch got canned.

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15 minutes ago, Sarlaccfood said:

I thought they were making the VR stuff now?

Yes, but the fun stuff that you could get your family to play and that was different - not any longer.

(easy enough to argue that you can just use mobile phones now, but the likes of buzz, eyetoy, singstar were different, social and fun while they were supported - VR is primarily a solo experience).

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7 minutes ago, footle said:

Yes, but the fun stuff that you could get your family to play and that was different - not any longer.

(easy enough to argue that you can just use mobile phones now, but the likes of buzz, eyetoy, singstar were different, social and fun while they were supported - VR is primarily a solo experience).

Sorry I thought you meant the staff got canned. I get ya.

 

Yeah same as the Japan stuff I guess in that third parties have been happy to pick up the mantle, so it’s not like it’s not being catered for. Hopefully the London team have the freedom to be able to try some of that again if they want to though.
 

Was “Hey that’s you!” quiz game them? That didn’t feel too long ago actually.

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Part of the reason I switched back to Xbox as my main platform is that I find Sony's fast party stuff a little hollow. They're like a prestige Ubisoft in the way so many of their games share similar concepts. That doesn't apply to their Japanese side, of course, so this is a pity. 

 

Sony seems to have utterly given up on Japan in the last few years. Is there an opportunity there for Xbox to capture a bit of that market? It doesn't seem as crazy as it used to. 

 

Yakuza 8 is going to be Switch 2 and Xbox only at this rate. 

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The Sony of old are dead so this shouldn't come as surprise, but it's still a great shame to see Playstation switch over almost completely to North American development. I don't mind a big cinematic rollercoaster occasionally but as deerokus said, they ultimately feel hollow. Returnal looks decent though.

 

Maybe all the Japanese devs just want to work on Switch now that it's the only thing that sells there.

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Sony have confirmed it. :(

 

https://www.ign.com/articles/playstation-reportedly-downscales-sony-japan-studio

 

Quote


In an effort to further strengthen business operations, SIE can confirm PlayStation Studios JAPAN Studio will be re-organized into a new organization on April 1. JAPAN Studio will be re-centered to Team ASOBI, the creative team behind Astro's PLAYROOM, allowing the team to focus on a single vision and build on the popularity of Astro’s PLAYROOM.

In addition, the roles of external production, software localization, and IP management of JAPAN Studio titles will be concentrated within the global functions of PlayStation Studios.

 

Well, fuck. SotC is still in my Top 10 games of all time (not the remake, though). Goodbye, the talented team which gave us Ico, SotC, The Last Guardian, Gravity Rush, Ape Escape and Parappa the Rapper. 

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"Sources tell VGC that Japan Studio has just not been profitable enough, and there were disagreements over the direction of the studio. Japan Studio wanted to create games for the Japanese market first with global appeal, while PlayStation reportedly wanted Japan Studio to work on global hits, similar to its North American and European first-party teams."

 

So basically the PlayStation brand has gone Western.

 

Shame really. Looks like a lot of high profile people have left the studio over the past couple of years - I expect to form studios of their own. I think the team that made Shadow of the Collosus are working on a project with Epic.

 

In a positive light at least the games that get released in future won't be tied exclusively to a Sony machine and more likely to get releases on PC/Xbox/Nintendo  platforms.

 

One of the reasons I bought Playstation consoles was to play the variety of games and loved Studio Japan's output. It made the PlayStation a more diverse brand capturing the uniquely Japanese feel to games. Not just shoot shoot shoot kill kill kill stuff. More spiritual if you will. Think personally this is a mistake by Sony sometimes it's not just about everything being profitable it's about being diverse and supporting games that don't conform. Profits from other parts of the business can be used to fuel the more abstract and to a degree experimental side of what they do. Pushing boundaries and challenging the norm. 

 

As shown in the State Of Play presentation last night almost all of what was shown was just fairly generic stuff. Nothing of the likes of Ico style games just a bit abstract and a bit different. Almost every game presented involved shooting or violence. Not that Ico for example wasn't violent but just felt it had enough to justify why it was needed and wasn't the focus of the game.

 

I can't see myself getting a Playstation console going forward. The PC is where the interesting content will be in future for me. Xbox is fine to the third party and arcade driving games I like.

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36 minutes ago, MattyP said:

"Sources tell VGC that Japan Studio has just not been profitable enough, and there were disagreements over the direction of the studio. Japan Studio wanted to create games for the Japanese market first with global appeal, while PlayStation reportedly wanted Japan Studio to work on global hits, similar to its North American and European first-party teams."

 

So basically the PlayStation brand has gone Western.

 

Shame really. Looks like a lot of high profile people have left the studio over the past couple of years - I expect to form studios of their own. I think the team that made Shadow of the Collosus are working on a project with Epic.

 

In a positive light at least the games that get released in future won't be tied exclusively to a Sony machine and more likely to get releases on PC/Xbox/Nintendo  platforms.

 

One of the reasons I bought Playstation consoles was to play the variety of games and loved Studio Japan's output. It made the PlayStation a more diverse brand capturing the uniquely Japanese feel to games. Not just shoot shoot shoot kill kill kill stuff. More spiritual if you will. Think personally this is a mistake by Sony sometimes it's not just about everything being profitable it's about being diverse and supporting games that don't conform. Profits from other parts of the business can be used to fuel the more abstract and to a degree experimental side of what they do. Pushing boundaries and challenging the norm. 

 

As shown in the State Of Play presentation last night almost all of what was shown was just fairly generic stuff. Nothing of the likes of Ico style games just a bit abstract and a bit different. Almost every game presented involved shooting or violence. Not that Ico for example wasn't violent but just felt it had enough to justify why it was needed and wasn't the focus of the game.

 

I can't see myself getting a Playstation console going forward. The PC is where the interesting content will be in future for me. Xbox is fine to the third party and arcade driving games I like.

 

Don't get the conclusion here. What you're getting on the PlayStation without all the Sony Japan stuff IS essentially an Xbox.  

 

You won't buy a PlayStation because it doesn't provide what you want but will buy an Xbox which also doesn't provide what you want?

 

Sony have turned into Xbox and I haven't bothered with their consoles for years but that's an odd conclusion.

 

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2 hours ago, El Spatula said:

 

Don't get the conclusion here. What you're getting on the PlayStation without all the Sony Japan stuff IS essentially an Xbox.  

 

You won't buy a PlayStation because it doesn't provide what you want but will buy an Xbox which also doesn't provide what you want?

 

Sony have turned into Xbox and I haven't bothered with their consoles for years but that's an odd conclusion.

 

The Xbox has the Forza series and Game Pass Ultimate on it. Also probably the best place to play all the third party content. Oh and have most of my digital content investment on the Xbox platform too and my BC games. 

 

As you mentioned there is no real difference these days anyway depends where you have your friends list and digital games I guess. With consoles I've always leant more towards Xbox since the 360 as I prefer the controller and games. 360 had a great selection of games, many of which I can still play.

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Well, this does mean the experimental side of Sony is all but dead. Sony might not be Microsoft, but this move seems to suggest they do want to meet them on the battlefield on Microsoft's terms, and for some reason they feel obliged to level the playing field ahead of time by chopping one of their own legs off.

 

So much for expecting a Sony IP renaissance... Now where's that Switch again...

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