A Gaming Mastermind: Interview with Sony PlayStation’s Sylvain Langrand

Written by Published in Interviews, Product Management

Sylvain is Director of Product at Sony PlayStation and a speaker for Product Management Festival 2018. He was previously the Xbox worldwide ecommerce lead at Microsoft where he helped launched multiple global consumer products including Microsoft’s first App & Game store and the Xbox One console. At Sony, Sylvain is now leading the team responsible for defining the future of digital commerce and player engagement for PlayStation console, mobile, and web experiences. He shares with PMF below how “fun” is used in their metrics and his thoughts on working in an industry that most kids (and adults) probably dream about.

Could you share a couple things you love and/or find challenging about your job (and/or industry)?

It’s amazing to be able to build experiences used by millions of passionate daily users who will judge your work by how fun and easy it is to use.

I feel it’s hard to not love a place were “level of fun” is a core success metric.

Gaming is a fast-pace and very competitive industry. There is a high level of innovation in how we deliver experiences to players. Live services, streaming, and social, for example, are changing the way users play and engage with gaming content.

The challenge is to truly understand and anticipate the needs of a diverse global player audience and build the right experiences for them. I find the quote from Blaise Pascal, ‘If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter’ very relevant to product management. Simpler is better, but it’s also much harder.

You are working on products that need to have mass appeal in different markets/ages/geos… How do you and your team keep up the momentum and innovation/creativity to keep being able to produce features and products that keep your audience engaged? 

The global aspect and diversity of our users are at the same time some of the most challenging and the most exciting part of our work. Every PlayStation user is unique and uses our platform for their own entertainment in a different way, and we have always been careful to consider global and user segment variations for our products so they appeal to most.

The “outcome-driven” approach we used is helpful in this regards. By scoring the importance and satisfaction of key desired outcomes for all users, we get tangible insights and can effectively measure results. It’s a way to bring more science to product management.

Anything new you’re working on that you can share with us?

My team just launched a fully redesigned PlayStation Store search experience. Leading up to it, we tested multiple design variations to create the simplest, fastest and most seamless search experience we could for all users.

The initial feedback and results have been really positive. The team has been enjoying reading players’ reactions and comments.

 

Want to hear more from Sylvain? He will be speaking at PMF on “Building the Best Place to Play: Sony PlayStation’s Customer-centric Approach to Product Management.” See our speakers page for more information on Sylvain and our other speakers who will be presenting at this year’s conference.


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