C|NET interview with Shawn Layden: 1st party development, acquisitions, streaming and more

Feb 4, 2013
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Speaking from his office in San Mateo, California, just up the road from other massive game makers like Nintendo and Electronic Arts, Layden didn't discuss the new device [PS5].
But he did say new technologies that could replace home consoles, like game streaming technology similar to Netflix, are still years away from mass adoption. He also hinted that Sony's ready to buy up other game makers as it looks to expand the types of games it makes.


With games like Fortnite: Battle Royale becoming so popular, how do you decide what types of games to make? Whether it's creating a direct competitor me-too type game or something different?
I don't want to get into me-too, it seems like I think the world's got all the battle royale it needs right now.
I think we've done a lot over the last three or four years to get us to a place right now where we're building fewer games per year than ever before, but we're spending more time, more energy, certainly more money, on making them.

So we're striking on all the beats that we want to, and we're getting both critical and commercial acclaim. Let's see now what we might add to our arsenal.
I've looked at some opportunities in the past, it's an opportunity to look for the ones that are the best cultural fit.


How do you decide what game makers you'll buy?
We're always exploring opportunities. If we found a partner or a team or a game that we felt was particularly meaningful and interesting in a service area, we will look to bring that in. We're always open to that kind of experience.

We try to make it really easy for our teams to focus on what our vision is for the future. And we have simplified it to "first, best or must."

If your title is going to be "first" and creating a genre, or "first" and creating a new game activity, let's look at that. If you're going to make an action adventure game, It better be "best" in class.
And we have the third category called "must," which is we must support the platform, we must be present when new technology comes out.


Credit: C|NET

Shawn is scheduled to speak at DICE Summit tomorrow (https://www.dicesummit.org/dice_speakers/2019_speakers.asp), check the credit link for the long ass explanation why they dropped this year's E3.
 
Aug 29, 2014
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This quote right here " I think we've done a lot over the last three or four years to get us to a place right now where we're building fewer games per year than ever before, but we're spending more time, more energy, certainly more money, on making them", is the reason that I've been saying that they have been needing to expand this gen. Games are taking longer to make, plus splitting resources for vr, and a lack of first party presence in a couple of genre. They really should increase the number of studios by at least 6 more. Nintendo is in the same boat they really should also expand the number of studios they have, especially with some western studios.
 
Oct 27, 2015
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It's good to hear Shawn's explanation about why they left E3. Shows that he is so insightful, and it makes the competitors seem pretty lacking in understanding of current culture when they boast that they're sticking with E3. Shawn already interviewed last E3 expressing disappointment in the trade show and ESA's handling with it. We already had a big hint that they were going to abandon E3 at that point.
This quote right here " I think we've done a lot over the last three or four years to get us to a place right now where we're building fewer games per year than ever before, but we're spending more time, more energy, certainly more money, on making them", is the reason that I've been saying that they have been needing to expand this gen. Games are taking longer to make, plus splitting resources for vr, and a lack of first party presence in a couple of genre. They really should increase the number of studios by at least 6 more. Nintendo is in the same boat they really should also expand the number of studios they have, especially with some western studios.
No they don't. Why would they need more when they handily whooped Microsoft in software output and hardware sales? Microsoft's pitiful amount of releases last year is why they had to buy studios, to actually catch up. They have 1-2 more studios than Sony now, but Sony's studios have been long standing with them for generations. Now, there are too many games, but not enough high caliber games like God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Spiderman. Third party will fill in the gap, and Sony will focus on making exceptional titles. You have to think how on Earth is Astrobot rated higher than third party AAA games? It's because Sony's bar of quality isn't based on profits, that's secondary. They want to make good games first and foremost, and that will sell.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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Curious what studios, if any, Sony are looking at to acquire. Insomniac and Kojima Productions are the most no brainer but I doubt either of those happen. Insomniac, while close to sony, has said they want to remain independent after the success of spider man are probably very expensive now. Kojima productions while smaller and probably more affordable is named after a renown developer who is already 55 years old. So unless kojima plans on working until hes like 70-75 I don't think a purchase would be worth it or even necessary.

So my guess sony will swoop up some smaller studios and have them focus on VR and stuff like that. If they acquire anyone at al..
 
Aug 29, 2014
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It's good to hear Shawn's explanation about why they left E3. Shows that he is so insightful, and it makes the competitors seem pretty lacking in understanding of current culture when they boast that they're sticking with E3. Shawn already interviewed last E3 expressing disappointment in the trade show and ESA's handling with it. We already had a big hint that they were going to abandon E3 at that point.

No they don't. Why would they need more when they handily whooped Microsoft in software output and hardware sales? Microsoft's pitiful amount of releases last year is why they had to buy studios, to actually catch up. They have 1-2 more studios than Sony now, but Sony's studios have been long standing with them for generations. Now, there are too many games, but not enough high caliber games like God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Spiderman. Third party will fill in the gap, and Sony will focus on making exceptional titles. You have to think how on Earth is Astrobot rated higher than third party AAA games? It's because Sony's bar of quality isn't based on profits, that's secondary. They want to make good games first and foremost, and that will sell.
If Sony wants to continue being in the lead they need to have more studios to not only compete with Microsoft but Microsoft's gamepass, EA access, and any other new subscription service that comes out. Having one first party game for almost every quarter isn't going to cut it next gen IF Microsoft continues doing everything right.
 
Jun 12, 2007
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I really like the Divinity games on PS4.

Larian Studios (who make those games) are the only small Studio I can think of right now that could benifit from a bigger budget and investment from someone like Sony.

Can't really think of any other mid sized stuido whos games I enjoyed recently. Mostly play either tiny indy games or huge AAA budget games.

I guess they could outright buy Kojima Productions though. But thier output is unproven.