Exclusivity Will Always Be Important, Says a Former Sony Executive!

While this may be the weakness of big-budget games, exclusivity is not negligible.


Shawn Layden is the former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s U.S. division and chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios (the latter now essentially operating under the name PlayStation Studios). He worked at Sony for thirty-two years, eventually leaving the company in 2019. Speaking on the What’s Up PlayStation podcast, he reiterated the importance of exclusives.

“Exclusivity will always be important, it helps focus and highlight the features of your platform. What can you technically do here that you can’t do anywhere else. But as your platform becomes more established, as the market recognizes where you sit in this pantheon of gaming options, I think the need for exclusivity becomes a little bit less. PlayStation has never been a first-party driven platform.

If you look at Nintendo and SEGA in the ’90s, their first-party output was the lion’s share of the software market. You could publish on the Nintendo 64, but the top 10 games were always going to be Nintendo games on it. PlayStation always started with a third party focus on the platform business. First-party isn’t there to steal market share from Electronic Arts or Square, first-party is there to make the pie bigger,” Layden said.

He was recently quoted as saying that Sony would be better off returning to AA titles: “I’m afraid we’ve bought into the triple-A, 80 hours of gameplay, 50 gigabyte game, and if we can’t do that, we can’t do anything. I’m hoping for a return to double-A games. I’m all for that. I look back at the PS2 era and there was so much variety. You had God of War and Assassin’s Creed. But you also had Loco Roco and SingStar and Dance Dance Revolution. You had that whole spectrum of entertainment. At $7-12 million a pop, why not make a bet and see what happens? Katamari Damacy, for God’s sake, you couldn’t do that today because you can’t even explain what it is. But now, when every bet is in the hundreds of millions, risk tolerance is super low. You end up with copycats and sequels and not much else.”

At least he made his point.

Source: VGC


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