Sony is cutting up to 90 jobs from its “merchandiser” and retail marketing teams as part of a “global transformation,” according to a new report by Axios. The layoffs come despite the continued growth of PlayStation thanks to the success of the PS5, and some employees were caught off guard by the move.
Axios reports that the layoffs, based in Sony’s North America operations, go into effect this week, which happens to coincide with the end of the company’s fiscal year. The merchandise team included PlayStation representatives who would interact with physical retail locations. The retail marketing team was also affected, with one source telling Kotaku it was shut down completely.
Sony did not respond to a request for comment.
The layoffs come as the global pandemic creeps into its third year, and as more and more of gaming culture and commerce moves online. Sony reported last year that 62% of all PlayStation games sold are now purchased digitally, and for much of the pandemic PS5s were predominantly sold through online retailers rather than in-store.
But the layoffs also appear to have come suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly, with employees only given two weeks’ notice of the “transformation,” according to two sources familiar with the announcement.
Axios reports one of the workers affected was “disappointed the company had not told the department about the cuts sooner and felt Sony could have done more to find people alternate roles.”
While the PS5 continues to sell out everywhere, lifetime sales are still behind where the PS4 was at this point due to ongoing part shortages. Sony announced earlier this week that it would combine both its PS Plus and PS Now console subscription services into a re-branded monthly program with three different tiers starting in June. The most expensive tier would include access to a library of classic PS1, PS2, and PSP games.