Update (02/26/21, 1:30 PM) – Sony has released a statement regarding Sony Japan Studio, explaining the fate of the long-running developer and how it will operate moving forward.
Here's the full statement that Sony provided to IGN:
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.
This statement confirms that Sony Japan Studio is indeed closing and having a number of its staff moved to Team Asobi. The business side of the studio — external production, localization, and IP management — will now be under the umbrella of PlayStation Studios, Sony's global company for the production of PlayStation games.
Our original story continues below.
Sony Japan Studio is reportedly closing its doors at the end of the Fiscal Year — something that many have suspected as several high-profile members of the studio have been announcing their departures.
You might not be overly familiar with Sony Japan Studio. That's certainly understandable — it's an internal Sony development studio that largely focused on the Japanese market. Some of its games have made it to the West such as Ape Escape and Gravity Rush, but the majority of its titles were intended for the Japanese market.
Unfortunately, it looks like this focus on developing games for the Japanese market has run its course — a new says that Sony will be shutting down its Japan Studio in a little over a month.
Why is Sony Japan Studio Reportedly Shutting Down?
A new report from VGC states that the closure of Sony Japan Studio comes down to one specific reason: profitability. The studio certainly didn't stay in business for 25 years by losing money, but it looks like it may no longer fit with PlayStation's global focus going forward.
Sony has not released any official statement on the matter, although there have been several tweets indicating that employees will be leaving the studio soon.
"I’m leaving Sony Interactive Entertainment at the end of this month," read a tweet from Bloodborne and Tokyo Jungle producer Masaaki Yamagiwa. "I’m going to continue working hard on creating games. Many thanks to everyone!"
"I have [an announcement]," began a tweet from SIE Japan's Video Manager Ryo Sogabe. "I will leave from SIE JAPAN Studio at the end of [February]. Rather than working, I've been playing with PlayStation and videos for the past 14 years. I will continue to play new challenges in the new company to bridge between game and video. Thanks."
Some of the departing staff will find a new home at Asobi Team, the developer behind the Astro Bot games for PlayStation consoles. Others, however, will likely move to other game development studios such as Silent Hill creator Keiichiro Toyama's new company Bokeh Game Studio.
The studio's business and localization staff will continue their operations going forward; it's only the studio's game developers that are not getting their contracts renewed at the end of the fiscal year. If this report is true, we should expect to see an announcement of Sony Japan Studio closing down before the end of Fiscal Year 2020 — that's March 31, 2021.
What do you think about Sony Japan Studio reportedly closing its doors? What's your favorite game from this long-running developer? Let us know in the comments below!