Sony PlayStation has reportedly laid off around 90 employees in North America in an apparent move to focus more on direct-to-consumer marketing over brick-and-mortar sales.
According to a report by Axios, Sony is shutting down its “merchandiser” team in the US, a group that included individuals whose job it was to connect with retail store staff and prepare them to sell PlayStation products. Other retail marketing jobs were also impacted by the layoffs.
Leadership reportedly explained the cuts as a part of the “global transformation” of Sony’s sales and business operations. This suggests a move away from focusing on retail sales in favor of direct-to-consumer marketing, especially as digital sales of games continue to grow and thrive.
Sony has yet to comment on the layoffs.
In the same week, Sony unveiled its Xbox Game Pass competitor in a revamped PlayStation Plus, combining the existing PS Plus and PS Now into a three-tier subscription service including up to 700 games. The service is planned to start rolling out in June, and will include a number of first-party titles such as Death Stranding, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and others at launch. However, first-party exclusives will not be launched into the service, unlike Xbox Game Pass.
Sony has also been in the process of expanding its PlayStation Direct program, effectively an online store for it to sell consoles, games, and merchandise direct to consumers without going through retailers. The service started in 2019 in the US, and late last year began to expand to Europe and the UK.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her her on Twitter @duckvalentine.