Former PlayStation boss, Shawn Layden, has finally revealed why he left the company, almost two years after his departure.
PlayStation abruptly announced on September 30, 2019, that Layden had left the company after 32 years with Sony. The company didn’t reveal why Layden had departed — PlayStation simply said he was leaving and that he’ll be greatly missed — and Layden himself has remained quiet on the subject.
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Now, almost two years after his departure, Layden has revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that he left PlayStation to avoid burnout and to put a good pin in his legacy at the company.
“It’s a young person’s activity,” Layden said. “I felt: This is a good time to put the pin in my legacy.”
Layden explained that in the years leading up to his departure, he had helped the company release some of the highest-rated games of the entire PS4 generation — he noted Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War to Bloomberg. He said that leaving PlayStation when he did, which happened to be the year before the start of the PlayStation 5 generation, came down to good timing.
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“That seemed like a good time to step off on top and allow another generation to take the PlayStation 5 to market,” Layden said.
Bloomberg asked Layden if his departure had anything to do with current PlayStation boss, Jim Ryan, in light of rumors that the two didn’t gel. The publication writes that Layden “wouldn’t get into specifics there,” but that Layden simply answered, “I think I took my time at the moment I saw best to take it [and] I couldn’t be happier.”
Elsewhere in Bloomberg’s interview, the publication touches on an hour-long conversation between Layden, who now serves on the advisory board at Streamline Media Group, and Streamline CEO Alexander Fernandez. In that conversation, Layden explained his concern with the rising costs of AAA game development.
Layden said game development costs seem to double with each generation, citing that the PlayStation 4 titles he helped get out the door each cost at least $100 million.
“If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it,” Layden said. “That puts you in a place where you’re incentivized toward sequels.” He then went on to predict that PS5 games will end up costing $200 million to make and that prices will only go up from there.
For more about PlayStation, read what PlayStation had to say when Layden left the company and then read about how the current chip shortage affecting the production of PlayStation 5s “will remain very tight” until at least next September. Check out this story about PlayStation’s upcoming 40-minute “future of PS5” showcase after that.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.