Most analysts and journalists correctly read the recent management shake-up at Sony as a sign of the problems the company has encountered with the PS3 launch. But at least one analyst thinks the reshuffling is a sign of a larger, long-term direction shift for the company
Nomura Securities analyst Yuta Sakurai told the Financial Times that replacing the hardware-focused Kutaragi with the more software-focused Hirai as head of Sony Computer Entertainment is a sign that the company is planning on changing its focus from hardware to software. "I cannot now imagine a PlayStation 4," Sakurai told the paper.
Our take? The PlayStation is too large a part of Sony's business for them to give up on it so easily. While the PS3 launch has had its fair share of problems, it's extremely premature to predict it will be such a failure that Sony will be forced to pull a Sega. Even in the worst-case scenario, name-recognition and big-name exclusives will carry Sony to a respectable enough market position to continue in the hardware game.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in.]
[Update: Eurogamer has a follow up story in which SCEA's Dave Karraker calls Sakurai's statement "short-sighted." Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter is also quoted as saying Sakurai's comments are "foolish" and "embarassing." Thanks Blammo]