Sony hit with record losses, cuts 10,000 jobs, games big focus of revitalization plans

Hirai's turnaround scheme aims to strengthen PlayStation brand

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“Sony will change,” promises new president and CEO Kazuo Hirai: “I've fully dedicated myself to changing Sony.” Hirai, who took over Howard Stringer's position at the top on April 1 of this year, responded to this week's dire financial projections – a doubled loss for 2012, signaling its worst year yet – with a plan for renewal. The plan includes boosting the company's core areas, among them gaming, Hirai's previous responsibility and the area in which the CEO made his name. Sony will also be cutting 6% of its global workforce, it announced.

Above: Hirai, left, and predecessor Stringer

The revised figures put the company's losses at $US6.4 billion, its fourth straight year of losses. Hirai says that as CEO, he takes these figures “very seriously. But at the same time, it strengthened my resolve to transform Sony.” He says those beneath him share this resolve: “Employees too want to restore Sony to its former glory and go beyond."

To this end, Sony's released a brief (via Joystiq) for what it calls its “One Sony” strategy, whose first article of business is a renewed focus on the company's core areas. These include its Game division, which had previously prospered during the PS2 era with Hirai at its head. The company has announced a renewed focus on the PlayStation Network, aiming to “increase sales by enriching its catalog of downloadable game titles and subscription services.” It also aims to provide more compatibility and content for the PlayStation Suite, coming to Android devices and others as announced last year.

However, the price paid for this renewed focus comes in the company's employment figures. Sony says it will be cutting some 10,000 jobs across the entire Sony group in 2012, saying it expects to spend almost $US1 billion on restructuring costs. The company hopes to see Hirai follow the One Sony plan to a profitable position by this time next year, it says. Concrete results for the year will be released next month.

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