‘First, best, and must’: PlayStation boss Shawn Layden shares the secret recipe behind Sony’s global gaming empire

Shawn Layden

The Sony PlayStation 4 has been a monumental success over the last five years, selling more than 91 million consoles.
The biggest driver of the PlayStation 4’s boom has been the steady cadence of exclusive games, many of which have been released to positive reviews and massive sales.
Shawn Layden is the chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) Worldwide Studios, which oversees the 16 global studios that produce exclusive PlayStation 4 games, including Naughty Dog (“Uncharted,” “The Last of Us”), Guerrilla Games (“Horizon Zero Dawn”), and Santa Monica Studio (“God of War”).
In an interview with Business Insider, Layden shared the secret sauce behind the PlayStation 4, and how he and his team navigate the ever-changing world of video game development to achieve critical and financial success.

The PlayStation 4 has dominated the current video game cycle over the past five years — and exclusive games like “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” “Uncharted 4,” and “God of War” are a big reason for that.

The numbers highlight the importance of exclusives: Five of the top 10 best-selling PlayStation 4 games of all-time can’t be played on any other console, and 13 of the 28 PlayStation 4 games that made more than $1 million in sales — about half — are also PS4 exclusives.

It’s not just sales. On Metacritic, which aggregates reviews from different publications, six of the top 10 best-reviewed PS4 games are exclusives, and roughly one-third of the PS4 games with a Metacritic score of at least 90 are exclusives as well.

Not every exclusive PS4 title has been a mega-smash hit, and some releases feel directed towards different audiences. But there’s an underlying quality where each production, while extremely different in tone and style, has a consistent level of polish.

“We have to lead from the front,” said Shawn Layden, chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios.

Layden, 57, has been with Sony PlayStation for more than 30 years. He understands Sony’s global footprint better than anyone.

The Notre Dame grad started working for Sony in Tokyo, not the US, in its corporate communications department under the the late Sony cofounder Akio Morita. He eventually moved to the UK to manage software development at the company’s London Studio, and shortly afterwards he became VP of Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE) Europe division.

After nine years in Europe, Layden returned to Tokyo to serve as president of SCE Japan, and in 2010, he was named chief operating officer and executive vice president at Sony Network Entertainment International (SNEI).

In 2014, Layden’s international work paid off back in the states: He was named president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, succeeding veteran Jack Tretton and becoming the official face of PlayStation at all of the company’s big press events, including E3, the annual gaming expo in Los Angeles. Then last year, in a corporate reorganization, Layden was named chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) Worldwide Studios.

Now, Layden is charged with managing the dozen-plus studios around the world that develop exclusive games for PlayStation consoles. Layden is …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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