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American PlayStation Boss Jack Tretton to Step Down Next Month

He will be replaced by Sony Network Entertainment International COO Shawn Layden.

Lauren Goode

Jack Tretton, the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, will step down at the end of the month, according to a company press release.

Sony Network Entertainment International COO Shawn Layden will take Tretton’s place on April 1.

Tretton was part of the team that launched the original PlayStation in 1995, and has worked at SCEA since then. He was promoted to lead the division in 2006.

“Working at SCEA for the past 19 years has been the most rewarding experience of my career,” Tretton was quoted as saying in the press release. “Although I will deeply miss the talented team at SCEA and the passion demonstrated every day by our fans, I’m very excited about starting the next chapter of my career.”

Details about what that next chapter will entail were not immediately available.

Tretton came to the top post just as Sony was launching the PlayStation 3, which often lagged behind Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in U.S. sales. With its most recent console, the PlayStation 4, Sony has seen some early signs of success in taking back its PlayStation 2-era control of the console gaming market.

In an interview last year at our previous site, AllThingsD, Tretton reflected on the history of console gaming in response to those who believe the PS4 is part of a final console generation:

It’s funny, I’ve heard about the “last console” since 1986, and only because that’s when I entered the business. I’ve managed to ride the “last console” wave for the last, what is that … 27 years or so? There’s a reason the console came about: Sitting in front of a big-screen TV on a couch with your friends. To get the immersive depth in gaming and to get the social experience of sitting around the living room, we’re not going to huddle around a tablet. We’re not going to huddle around a smartphone. I think the technology will come a long way, but you’re still trying to build a console, ultimately. You’re trying to get it closer to a console.

The threat in the ’80s was that the PC was going to take over, and it’s certainly alive and well, but it hasn’t taken it over, and I think smartphone and tablet gaming is actually additive. I don’t think I’ll be in the industry 27 years from now, but I think the next 27 years bode much better for the gaming industry than the last 27 did. It was plowing the road and establishing it as mainstream entertainment. Now it is mainstream entertainment, and you’re going to have generations of people who grew up with gaming. Twenty-seven years from now, you’ll be hard-pressed to find somebody that was never a gamer in some way, shape or form.

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