2011 wasn't exactly smooth sailing for Sony. The PlayStation Network got hit by a wave of hacks and outages last year, and the electronics giant is forecasting heavy losses for its fiscal year ending in March. Now, with Kazuo Hirai taking the helm as its CEO this April, the Sony Computer Entertainment Chairman is predicting that rough seas are still ahead.
Hirai will be succeeding current Sony boss Howard Stringer, whose seven-year tenure saw the company's stock price dip by more than 60 percent and its communication between Japanese and North American branches become strained. Hirai gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he said the trials facing Sony are some of the toughest he's ever experienced:
"I thought turning around the PlayStation business was going to be the toughest challenge of my career, but I guess not. It's one issue after another. I feel like 'Holy sh*t, now what?'"
As early PlayStation 3 owners can certainly attest to, Sony has a history of pulling out all the stops for its hardware but simultaneously falling behind competitors like Microsoft when it comes to the user experience .
"We can't just continue to be a great purveyor of hardware products, even though some people expect us to do that.
"We really need to buckle down and be realistic. I don't think everybody is on board, but I think people are coming around to the idea that if we don't turn this around, we could be sitting in some serious trouble."
To investors looking for a rousing, motivational sentiment out of the new CEO-to-be, it wasn't exactly Commander Shepard's Mass Effect 2 speech before assaulting the Collectors - but it's refreshing to hear an honest appraisal of where a company is at.
No doubt part of Hirai's resurgence strategy will factor in the PlayStation 4 - something that he's likely had direct involvement with before leaving his position. Just recently, the company announced it would be converting PSN accounts into a more universally-named Sony Entertainment Network account, and we know that the PS4 will be sticking with physical disc media to provide easier accessibility to consumers.
The PlayStation Vita also has the potential for some boisterous profits, and Sony might decide to take a crack at dominating the handheld market. Whatever lies ahead, you don't take the reins of a company with raw comments like Hirai's if you're not determined to turn things around. Hirai found himself in a similar position when he rescued the PlayStation 3 from its staid debut in 2006, and we wish him the best in succeeding with the mega-conglomerate as a whole.
Ranters, what do think of Hirai's attitude on the task at hand for Sony? Do the company tap the right guy for steering them in the proper direction?
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