Sony has cut around 90 retail-focused jobs at PlayStation, signaling a possible shift from retail sales to directly marketing to consumers.
Things have been going pretty well for Sony lately. Although the PS5 preorder situation was a bit of a mess, yesterday's reveal of improvements to PlayStation Plus is adding a lot of value to its subscription service and Sony has been snapping up first-party studios left and right. Despite these successes, it looks like Sony is also changing up its strategy a bit by cutting 90 jobs that were focused on interacting with physical retailers.
Why Sony Cut These PlayStation Retail Jobs
Axios Stephen Totilo reports (via Reddit), the approximately 90 PlayStation jobs that were cut were its "merchandiser" team in North America along with retail marketing jobs. A portion of the merchandiser team included "PlayStation Representatives." These employees were tasked with actually going to retailers, evangelizing for PlayStation products, and educating retail employees about the products.
One anonymous employee speaking to Axios says that the cuts were somewhat last minute. Gaming and tech companies will sometimes (but not always) let employees know about layoffs as far in advance as possible; occasionally, it will work with them to help them secure employment at another internal position or even another company.
So, why were these positions cut? Documents shown to Axios indicate that this is part of a "global transformation" of the company's business strategy. Combine that with the recent reveal of improvements to PlayStation Plus and it looks like Sony may be leaning towards a stronger focus on direct-to-consumer and digital sales over retail sales.
As for the exact timing, it should be noted that March 31 is typically the end of the fiscal year for most companies. Cuts, game cancellations, studio closures, and the like will often happen now rather than waiting for the following fiscal year to begin on April 1.