PlayStation's Kaz Hirai has officially retired from Sony. Hirai began his career with the company in 1984 working in what is now Sony Music Entertainment Japan's marketing department. Hirai moved around to other positions in the company, and in 1995, he joined Sony Computer Entertainment America, now known as Sony Interactive Entertainment, the division of Sony responsible for PlayStation.
In 2000, Hirai oversaw the release of the PlayStation 2. Under his leadership, Sony began to create a footing for itself in the console market. In 2012, Hirai became CEO of Sony, and since then, the company has seen the PlayStation brand emerge as one of the top-selling systems in the world: as of 2018, the PlayStation 4 had sold over 80 million units since launch. Hirai was also responsible for a shift in Sony's previously-formal corporate culture and was known for showing up to work in polo shirts and jeans and listening to American pop music in his office. But all good things must come to an end: Hirai announced his decision to retire in February 2018.
According to GameSpot, Hirai is now officially retired. His last day in the office was on Tuesday, June 18. Former Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida became Sony's new CEO in April 2018, but Hirai has plans to stay on as a senior advisor to the company, as needed. Hirai cited a busy travel schedule as the reason he decided to step down and hopes that he will now have more time to spend with his family.
Hirai's legacy, though, will continue to highlight his fundamental principle of "kando," offering products and services that emotionally move customers, as well as things that inspire and spark curiosity. This is a vision fulfilled by many recent PlayStation games, including God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn and Marvel's Spider-Man. Several upcoming PlayStation games also fall into that category, including Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding, which releases November 8.
Although Hirai won't get to oversee the release of Sony's next PlayStation, expected in 2020, his leadership has brought the company to the point where the PlayStation 5 is the most wanted console of the next generation. Also, although the company chose not to attend the 2019 E3 conference, it still had a strong presence there and was the third most popular publisher at E3. This success is largely due to Hirai's influence on the company, and PlayStation fans can only hope that Sony will continue to follow his ideas moving forward.