The layoffs were part of Sony’s ongoing restructuring plans, which has seen the North American branch, Sony Interactive Entertainment America (SIEA), grow in influence and control. Previously, regional branches were largely autonomous, only reporting or deferring to SIEA on major projects. Smaller games could have their budgets managed entirely by regional Sony branches, but apparently this is no longer the case.
It appears Sony is moving towards a more centralised system with North America pulling all the strings. Regional autonomy meant a greater variety of ideas; modern classics such as LittleBigPlanet and SingStar were both developed under this model.
"While this did create a less cohesive environment for third party developers with Sony hiring so many personnel for in-house development, there is less specific insight into the European market."
While this did create a less cohesive environment for third party developers with Sony hiring so many personnel for in-house development, there is less specific insight into the European market. This equates to Sony giving up ground to Microsoft and Nintendo.
Those affected have been given notice and asked to reinterview for their jobs back, this time with more oversight. It's not just in Europe where losses were suffered. There were cuts in the US too, with creative teams being shown the door.
“This group of talented and passionate people are out of a job” artist @JC_Art_ posted on Twitter. JC’s team worked on in-house Sony art, most recently the promotional materials for the Halloween sale.
As for the PS5 itself, with a sooner than expected release quarter four of 2020 and the promise of PS4 backwards compatibility, it’s easy to see why it has dominated headlines.