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Sony management shuffle dooms PlayStation 4?

Hirai promotion signals shift to software, analyst claims

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Sony's move to promote Kaz Hirai, yesterday head of the US wing of the company's Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) division but now President and COO of the global SCE operation, means the consumer electronics giant may never produce a PlayStation 4 console.

So claimed Nomura analyst Yuta Sakurai in a Financial Times report today. Sakurai believes Sony's move, which sees former SCE head Ken 'Father of the PlayStation' Kutaragi made Chairman of the division, marks a fundamental shift in Sony's approach.

"The appointment of Hirai could be the start of a shift from hardware to software," Sakurai told the paper.

"I cannot now imagine a PlayStation 4."

That's undoubtedly an extreme view. Certainly, other analysts cited by the paper indicated a less drastic outcome from the SCE management reshuffle. Hirai's promotion, said one, centres on his "superior communications skills", which he'll use to strengthen SCE's ties with third-party software developers, said to have been strained by the numerous delays made to the next-generation console's release schedule and subsequent launch numbers. ®

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