Sony's new CEO Kaz Hirai addressed his 9,303 shareholders and employees this week at a hotel in Tokyo, after announcing his revival plan back in April to save the company, starting with 10,000 job cuts. He also defended keeping the former CEO, Howard Stringer, as chairman of the board.
Hirai continued his plan by providing details and updates on the progress, saying that there will be an increased focus on the gaming, camera and medial divisions as well as on the Xperia smartphone line, which we've seen new campaigns and advertising for as of late. The new CEO will also be expanding group sales to $106.97 billion in two years in order to combat the exponential losses in the TV sector. For gaming, Hirai mentioned that there was a goal to triple online gaming network sales by March of 2015, however he did not provide any details on how that was going to occur.
Howard Stringer did take the stage as well, to apologize for the monumental loss of $5.75 billion in the last fiscal year, citing the Japanese earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters that happened in 2011. A shareholder then asked Sony why Stringer and vice chairman Ryoji Chubachi were staying on the board after such a bad year. Hirai replied that "he needed the advice and support of Stringer and Chubachi." Hirai would also not comment on their potential $625 million purchase of endoscope maker Olympus Corp.
Overall, investors were still not convinced that Hirai can right the ship and were at times hostile during the meeting, interrupting speakers several times. I hope, for the sake of gaming and Kaz himself, that Sony can pull this off, however only time will tell. I will say this here: in order to monetize the online gaming sales, it is time (and has been for a while) to start charging for the PlayStation Network. The PlayStation Plus program was a good start but PSN remains the number one loss leader for the company and it is not generating enough revenue from the in-game or supplementary purchases to offset the cost. Charge for the PSN, lose the radical group who "won't pay to play" and watch the money start rolling in, Sony.