Former PlayStation Boss Shawn Layden Sees Google, Netflix, Apple, and Amazon as Threats to Gaming

Former PlayStation Boss Shawn Layden Sees Google, Netflix, Apple, and Amazon as Threats to Gaming

Former PlayStation Boss Shawn Layden Sees Google, Netflix, Apple, and Amazon as Threats to Gaming

William D’Angelo
, posted 7 hours ago / 1,908 Views

The former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden in an interview with GamesIndustry listed three big concerns he believes the video game industry will face in the coming years. 

“First, consolidation can be an enemy of creativity,” said Layden. “I also think rising costs in gaming are an existential threat to all of us. And the entry of non-endemics into the sector – otherwise known as the ‘barbarians at the gate.’

“Right now we see all the big players going, ‘Oh, gaming? It’s bringing in billions of dollars a year? I want a piece of that’ And so we have Google, Netflix, Apple and Amazon wanting to get piece and trying to disrupt out industry.”

He added the video game industry needs to learn what happened to the music industry when Apple “convinced everyone that 99 cents per song was a good idea.” He also said Netflix has disrupted the movie industry.

“I’m hoping gaming will be the first industry where we disrupt ourselves,” he said. “Where it doesn’t take a Google or an Amazon to completely flip the table. We should be smart enough to see these changes coming and prepare ourselves for that eventuality.”

It was brought up that Sony and Microsoft were non-endemic to the video game industry when they entered the market.

“[Sony] knew enough that entertainment was its own beast, so Electronics knew it couldn’t manage this business by taking all the guys from the CD division and go after games,” said Layden. 

“So in the initial stages of the company, it was a joint venture between Sony Electronics and Sony Music Japan. They knew they had to bring the entertainment… right from the beginning. The people handling the advertising, marketing, publisher relations, PR – those were all Sony Music guys – and they were soliciting publishers to support the platform.

“PlayStation knew that we couldn’t do what Sega and Nintendo did and [provide the bulk of the software], we didn’t know enough how to make it. We had to be the third-party platform, so we had to get Namco, Square, EA, Activision. Those Sony Music guys are the ones that got Square to move Final Fantasy VII off of Nintendo and onto PlayStation, probably the biggest sea change move.

“So yeah, we weren’t endemic, but I think we brought the entertainment piece in, which really helped accelerate the success of PlayStation.”

He added that other non-endemics tried entering the video game market about 25 years ago like MGM, Fox and Sony Pictures.

“They all thought, ‘we have IP, there’s money in the games space, so let’s make games,” he said. “How hard can it be?’ and then they all crashed and burned. And 20 years later you have all these big tech firms, they’ve got this cloud infrastructure, and they’re like ‘let’s make games. How hard can it be?’ and it turns out it’s pretty hard.”

A life-long and avid gamer, William D’Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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