Former PlayStation Boss Sounds the Alarm After Microsoft Buys Activision Blizzard

The former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Shawn Layden, has had a lot to say about the state of the industry since he left Sony in 2019. In a recent interview, Layden expanded on some of those points – warning against consolidation of the studio and advocated for the preservation of the game after Microsoft’s massive acquisition of Activision-Blizzard finally went through.

In an interview with Lan Party Podcast last week, as taken by KotakuLayden reiterated some of the biggest issues he sees in the game industry today–including consolidation, which became a major talking point during Microsoft’s battle to acquire gaming giant Activision-Blizzard-King.

“My concern with consolidation is that it often affects creativity,” Layden explains. “For example, it takes small, independent, wildhorse studios and brings them into a larger conglomerate and essentially time slows down as you get bigger, time slows down.”

While Layden says the practice can be positive in cases where a small studio would otherwise have closed, he is still concerned about the impact of consolidation on the industry as a whole. “I’m just concerned about what this will do to encourage creativity within the studios, and will they be able to keep that kind of independent creativity alive or will they be absorbed into the larger whole?” he explained. “Time will tell, but it’s a little worrisome. When you go from hundreds of voices to dozens of voices, you lose some voices.”

Layden also worries about the lack of diversity in games today, with many big AAA studios focusing on the same genres and formats. “If we continue to coalesce into four or five genres, we’re not going to get new players because people are already saying we’re not interested in your genres,” Layden said. “Don’t kid yourself that someone who has been saying ‘no’ to Call of Duty for the past 15 years will suddenly start saying ‘yes’ to Call of Duty.”

The former PlayStation boss also spoke on the topic of game preservation, saying he would like to see more people in the industry think about preserving old games for future generations. “These are not throwaway items we make,” he said. “These are things that need to be around for a long time because future generations will be able to enjoy them in the same way that we have and it’s a crime that we’re not doing more to protect them.”

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