Xbox Boss Comments on Jim Ryan’s PlayStation Departure

Earlier today, Jim Ryan announced his departure from PlayStation, in a move that surprised many in the video game industry. Ryan will remain CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment until March 2024, with Hiroki Totoki taking over as interim CEO on April 1. Ryan’s departure comes after more than 30 years with the company. After the news went public, Xbox boss Phil Spencer offered words of praise for Ryan’s tenure at PlayStation, while wishing him luck in his future endeavors.

“Jim Ryan has been a great contributor to our industry and a fierce leader for PlayStation. I wish him the best in what he does next,” Spencer wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for all you’ve done for the community over the last 30 years, Jim.”

Activision Tensions

While Ryan’s words show a respect between the two executives, the relationship between Ryan and Spencer has been publicly contentious for the last few years. The rivalry between PlayStation and Xbox has been ongoing for two decades, but things have gotten a lot more heated as a result of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Ryan publicly denounced Microsoft’s initial offer to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for at least three years, and reportedly met with regulators behind the scenes to voice his concerns about the deal. This all happened even as Ryan was privately saying that the deal would not lead to Call of Duty becoming an exclusive.

With Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard nearly complete, tensions between PlayStation and Xbox seem to have cooled a bit. PlayStation inevitably signed a contract with Xbox guaranteeing that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for at least a decade. That’s a lot better than the initial deal, and Ryan’s actions might have worked to the benefit of PlayStation users. That might be why Spencer called him a “fierce leader,” and it’s possible any leftover tensions are in the past (at least on Spencer’s part). It’s also possible that Spencer simply knows Ryan was acting in the best interests of Sony. Whatever the case might be, it’s impossible to deny Ryan’s contributions to both PlayStation, and the video game industry as a whole.

PlayStation’s Future

Spencer likely won’t be the only one offering words of support ahead of Ryan’s departure, and we could see a lot more in the months leading up to his final days at PlayStation. It will be interesting to see what impact Ryan’s retirement has on PlayStation’s strategy, and what direction the brand moves in. It’s likely Totoki and Ryan’s permanent successor will continue to keep things heading in a direction that has clearly worked for PlayStation. For now, fans will just have to wait and see!

Are you surprised to hear Phil Spencer’s praise for Jim Ryan? Do you think the tensions have cooled between the two executives? Share your thoughts with me directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp or on Instagram at @Dachampgaming!