The dawn of the next generation of consoles gave us a look at what the future of gaming will look like. We’ve only yet seen the tip of the iceberg, as developers will learn how to get the best of these consoles over the next few years. However, with a new generation, come more ambitious projects, and that means higher budgets.
Former PlayStation boss, Shawn Layden was of the same opinion. In an interview with Bloomberg, Layden spoke about stepping down from his role as PlayStation head, his current job, and the future of the gaming industry.
Layden noted that game development seems to double in cost with every console cycle. While he worked on a budget of around $100 million for games like God of War and Horizon: Zero Dawn, he predicted that PlayStation 5 games will eventually take $200 million to make and continue growing. “If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it,” he said. “That puts you in a place where you’re incentivized toward sequels.”
Bloomberg's Jason Schreier noted that the result of such constantly inflating budgets is a yearly game series that cannot be distinguished from it’s previous release, much like Call of Duty of FIFA. “What happens there is you end up with 3-4 silos of games or game types that continue to exist, and variety is squeezed out,” said Layden.
Layden spoke about his departure from his role at PlayStation. While no reason was given during the time, he said that there was no other reason except for the fact that he felt it was time. “It's a young person's activity. I felt this is a good time to put the pin in my legacy.” He oversaw a great lineup of PlayStation exclusives and felt that it was “a good time to step off on top and allow another generation to take the PlayStation 5 to market.”
Layden is currently on the advisory board of Streamline Media Group, a game services company where he advises the company on its global strategy for video games.