Sony to move entire PlayStation operation to San Mateo offices

Sony said it will move all of its PlayStation-related operations to San Mateo, enabling the consumer electronics giant to tap the talent of Silicon Valley, and potentially bringing new jobs to the Bay Area, the company said Tuesday.

Japan-based Sony announced the creation of a new company, Sony Interactive Entertainment, that will be based in San Mateo.

At present, Sony has about 1,300 employees at the San Mateo site, said Jennifer Clark, a spokeswoman for Sony PlayStation. The office complex totals 450,000 square feet, she added.

“By integrating the strengths of PlayStation’s hardware, software, content and network operations, Sony Interactive Entertainment will become an even stronger entity, with a clear objective to further accelerate the growth of the PlayStation business,” said Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment.

The Sony PlayStation platform has evolved rapidly from a standalone console to a networked and cloud-based service that enables streaming of games, movies, videos and other content.

“Sony’s decision is testament to the economic pull of the Bay Area,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist with San Francisco-based Bank of the West. “They are looking for the synergy of the talent that is located in Silicon Valley and the innovation culture that is here.”

The market environments of hardware, software, content and network services are ever evolving, making it crucial for Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment to unify their business strengths under one entity with a single focus, the consumer electronics giant said.

“You can’t find that kind of innovation anywhere else to the extent you have it here in the Bay Area,” Anderson said. “You have a lot of older companies that want to share in this innovation and tap the talent in Silicon Valley.”

Besides consumer electronics companies, cell phone firms as well as automotive companies have sought to establish major outposts in Santa Clara County or San Mateo County in a quest to be near the engineering, software, mobile technologies, hardware and Internet talent located in the region.

Sony’s move to the San Mateo complex that it already occupies won’t lead to a shrinking of the entertainment giant’s workforce.

“We will continue to hire at this location and across other regions,” Clark said. “There is a possibility that a small number of staff will move to the U.S.”


Photo: A shopper walks through a consumer electronics store in Tokyo that displays a PlayStation logo. (Associated Press)


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