Sony Studios Defy Jim Ryan’s Neutrality Request After Roe V Wade Overturned

We are seeing a wide range of reactions from game studios across the industry in the wake of the overturning of Roe V. Wade by the Supreme Court yesterday. They range from Destiny developer Bungie, who immediately published a policy that they would pay for employees in affected states to travel to ensure their reproductive rights remained intact, to EA, who crafted a vague statement about “the well-being of our people” that seems crafted to be as inoffensive as possible.

But Sony is a special case. Previously, when the leaked Roe draft went out earlier this year, Jim Ryan sent an email to Sony employees saying that “we owe it to each other and to PlayStation’s millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities. Respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand.”

He then went on to discuss how he wanted to get a dog, and talked about his cats’ birthday cakes. The email did not go over well at the time.

Despite Ryan’s call for neutrality and “respect” from Sony employees on the issue, now that Roe V Wade has officially been overturned, a number of huge Sony studios had statements pre-drafted for just such an occasion, and they all went out almost in unison in contrast to Ryan’s “let’s just all get along” rhetoric from his initial email.

Naughty Dog:

Guerilla Games:

Sucker Punch:

Insomniac:

Sony Santa Monica:

There may be more, but those are the big guns I’ve seen, representing the vast majority of Sony’s top hits. It is not clear if Sony’s internal tone changed to allow or encourage developers to make statements like this, or if they all just did it on their own, but it very much appears to be a coordinated move. From the sound of it, with Naughty Dog citing Sony matching their donations to adjacent causes, that there may have been an internal shift due to Ryan’s initial statements that were leaked and poorly received. Bungie too is technically in the process of being purchased by Sony, but retains a lot of independence. It’s not clear if these other studios will provide similar benefits covering travel for out of state healthcare necessitated by the ruling (Update: Sony as a whole, reportedly will).

We’ll see if these studios take further action as this ruling becomes a reality in the coming weeks and months. The rest of the industry is continuing to speak out, and those that remain silent are increasingly conspicuous by comparison.

Update: Sony is indeed listed among a number of companies who will indeed provide travel reimbursement for healthcare expenses related to the ruling:

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