Why Did Shawn Layden Leave Sony? He Answers After A Long Time!

Shawn Layden, who spent many years in leading positions under Sony and PlayStation, needed nearly two years to reveal why he left his former workplace behind.


Bloomberg learned why Shawn Layden left Sony, despite having worked on SIX console launches. “It’s a young person’s activity. I felt [in September 2019]: this is a good time to put the pin in my legacy,” he said. He played a significant role in killer apps for the PlayStation 4, such as God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn. “That seemed like a good time to step off on top and allow another generation to take the PlayStation 5 to market,” he added.

There were speculations that a power struggle with Jim Ryan (the president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment) led to his departure. Still, he didn’t go specifics: “I think I took my time at the moment I saw best to take it, and I couldn’t be happier.” He’s now an advisor to Streamline Media Group, where he will advise the company on its global strategy for video games and enterprise.

Shawn Layden and Alexander Fernandez, Streamline’s CEO, talked about how the company aims to promote diversity by recruiting talent remotely across the world. They mentioned the metaverse, but Layden thinks the game industry is heading down an unsustainable path, claiming that game development “seems to double in cost every platform.” Several PlayStation 4 titles hit 100 million dollars with their budget! “If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it. That puts you in a place where you’re incentivized toward sequels,” he said, predicting that the PlayStation 5 games will hit 200 million dollar budgets and that prices will continue to grow exponentially from there.

This situation led to annual releases (such as Call of Duty and Madden), and every publisher is chasing the latest billion-dollar trends (Candy Crush, Fortnite, Roblox). “What happens there is you end up with 3-4 silos of games or game types that continue to exist, and variety is squeezed out,” Layden said. And he’s right: Sony’s focus in its strategy is blockbusters above all else.

However, Shawn Layden recalls what he did at PlayStation: “I think I contributed a part into showing the world what amazing gameplay can look like.” He hopes that Streamline’s focus on helping facilitate game development worldwide will lead to more diverse games, which ultimately will help balance out the heavyweights at the top. “We are now the largest entertainment medium in the world, except on a social impact level we punch below our weight. My goal in the last act of my career is really to bring more people into gaming creation, more people from all over the world, [and] bring more people into the enjoyment of gaming.”

Best of luck to him!

Source: Bloomberg

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Anikó, our news editor and communication manager, is more interested in the business side of the gaming industry. She worked at banks, and she has a vast knowledge of business life. Still, she likes puzzle and story-oriented games, like Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, which is her favourite title. She also played The Sims 3, but after accidentally killing a whole sim family, swore not to play it again. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our IMPRESSUM)

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