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PlayStation vet to head up Xbox's Japanese partnerships team

PlayStation vet to head up Xbox's Japanese partnerships team

Microsoft's games arm has hired Mena Sato Kato to head up its partnerships team in Japan.

In a post on her LinkedIn, Kato said that she would be working to support the company's Japanese partners globally. For much of her career, she has worked at PlayStation. Kato joined the corporate giant's R&D department in 1999 before moving to its broadband business two years later and its entertainment business three years after that.

In 2006, she became business relations director for Sony Japan Studio, before heading up the PlayStation Phone initiative between 2009 and 2011. At that point, Kato was promoted to senior director of business development for both Japan Studio and PlayStation Worldwide Studios, then to VP of biz dev for Japan Studio and the Sony Interactive Entertainment business as a whole in 2013. Seven years later, her role expanded to include Sony's mobile business. Kato left the company in March 2021.

"Excited to say I've joined Microsoft as Director for Partnerships Japan at Xbox," she wrote on LinkedIn.

"I will be leading partnership efforts to support our Japanese partners globally. Opening up a new chapter, unlocking new experiences in the game industry. I hope to see many of you at TGS!"

In a post on Twitter, Xbox boss Phil Spencer added: "Glad to have Mena leading our work on Japanese partnerships for Team Xbox."

Microsoft has historically struggled in Japan and has seen poor console sales. In recent years, the company has tried to bring more developers from the region into the fold, though Spencer has said that Xbox isn't looking to buy a studio in the country.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.