The former president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, Shawn Layden, has shared his concerns about what he believes to be threats to the games industry, and warned that acquisitions can serve as “an enemy of creativity”.
As GamesIndustry.biz reports, during the GI Investment Summit last week, Layden spoke about acquisitions, growing costs, and the impact that non-endemic brands could have on the industry as a whole.
“First, consolidation can be an enemy of creativity,” he stated. “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.’”
He continued, suggesting that non-endemic companies such as Apple and Netflix could “disrupt our industry” by “wanting to get a piece” of it. However, it was pointed out by the head of GamesIndustry.biz, Christopher Dring, that PlayStation itself was first introduced to the games industry by a non-endemic brand, Sony.
“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,” Layden stated. “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 7 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.”
On the topic of video game acquisitions, Microsoft is still in the process of trying to push through its buyout of Activision Blizzard. Last month, Microsoft announced its plans to sell the streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft, assuming that the buyout goes ahead. Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, confirmed that this was to “address the UK CMA’s concerns regarding cloud streaming”.