Ex-PlayStation Boss Shawn Layden Expresses Concerns About Acquisitions

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, ex-PlayStation boss Shawn Layden expresses his concerns about the abundance of studio acquisitions.

Posted By | On 27th, Jul. 2021

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In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, former PlayStation Studios head Shawn Layden talked about his concerns with the growing number of acquisitions in the industry. He also expresses his concerns about how it could lead to industry consolidation as well as its tangible impact on the diversity of games produced.

Shawn Layden explains it with a great example, citing how music nets a fraction of the income that games do but has exponentially more impact on culture. The abundance of acquisitions and buyouts considerably diminishes the variety of games fans get to experience, with experimental titles now being mostly limited to indie developers.

“Consolidation is the enemy of diversity in some ways,” Layden said. “It takes a lot of playing pieces off the table as they grow into these larger conglomerates. And again, we end up with this problem with diversity. Music on a revenue basis is probably one fifth of the games space. But their cultural impact is 100x what gaming is. Right now, we are narrowing ourselves down into genres and sequels and certain types of games. Favourites like my own, like Parappa and Vib-Ribbon, those things don’t seem to get a chance to come out on stage. That’s bad for the industry and for fans. Over time, that leads to a crumbling of the games industry if we just keep talking to the same people and telling the same stories in the same way.”

This sentiment resonates strongly against Sony’s current business strategy, as the Tokyo-based giant seems to keep burning bridges with indies and smaller developers to pump out more blockbuster exclusives. Currently, it seems both Sony and Microsoft are in a direct battle of acquisitions with one another, constantly looking out for opportunities to one-up its competitor.


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