In recent years, some of the most influential multinationals in the world have been trying to make a breakthrough in video games. Google has also paid the price with the failure of Stadia, while Netflix and Amazon persist with the creation of original studios and games. However, some do not view this trend favorably, including Shawn Layden, the former president of PlayStation.
Former PlayStation president discusses his fears
It was during the GamesIndustry.biz Investment Summit in Seattle that Shawn Layden spoke with Christopher Dring, the man at the head of GamesIndustry.biz. He thus shared the challenges that he believes the industry will have to face.
He thus firstly mentions consolidation, referring to waves of takeovers, but also the increase in the costs of games and the arrival of new players on the market.
First, consolidation can be the enemy of creativity. I also think the rising costs of gaming are an existential threat to all of us. And the arrival in the sector of non-endemic actors, otherwise known as the “barbarians at the gate”, is a threat to us all.
Unfortunately, the former president of PlayStation did not take the time to detail the first two points and only focused on the third. However, he had already spoken out in 2021 on budgets that were too high.
The threat of new actors
Of course, video games are a business like any other, but Shawn Layden points out the venality of Google, Netflix, Apple and Amazon, who also want to be entitled to their share of the enormous multi-billion pie.
Right now, we’re seeing all the big players going, “Oh, video games?” It brings in billions of dollars a year? I want a piece of the pie.” Google, Netflix, Apple and Amazon therefore want to take a piece of the pie and try to disrupt the sector.
According to him, we must remember the radical changes that groups like Netflix or Apple have imposed on their respective industries. Music was irreparably disrupted when Apple “convinced everyone that 99 cents per song was a good idea.” Similarly, Netflix disrupted the movie industry by “getting content, licensing it, and nailing it to your home.”
Shawn Layden believes that players can change the industry on their own, without waiting for the intervention of multinationals who would disrupt consumption habits.
There’s no need for a Google or an Amazon to completely turn the tables. We should be smart enough to see these changes coming and prepare for them.
Finally, he adds that some companies have “understood that it is not enough to have technology to create a game”. We obviously think of Stadia which closed its doors only three years after the start of its marketing. Despite a rather effective cloud solution, the service offered was far too expensive.
The arrival of PlayStation on the market
It may seem rather comical to make such comments when Shawn Layden worked for a company that itself broke into this industry to grab some market share. Following this remark made by Christopher Dring, the former president of PlayStation explained that Sony had understood its own limitations when entering the market.
Sony knew entertainment was a beast of its own, and Electronics knew it couldn’t run that business by taking all the guys from the CD division and going into gaming. So the company was initially a joint venture. between Sony Electronics and Sony Music Japan. They knew they had to bring the entertainment… right from the start. The people in charge of advertising, marketing, publisher relations, public relations, were all Sony Music people, and they were soliciting publishers to support the platform.
Finally, he adds that there is nothing new about a non-endemic company trying to find its place in the video game industry. About 25 years ago, movie studios such as MGM, Fox, and Sony Pictures started their own gaming businesses.
They all said, “We have the intellectual property, there’s money in the games business, so let’s make games.” Is it that difficult? ”, then they all collapsed and burned. Twenty years later, there are all these big tech companies that have cloud infrastructure and are saying “let’s make games, it’s not that difficult.” And it turns out it’s pretty difficult.”
It remains to be seen whether Shawn Layden’s fears will prove true in the future. And you, do you think that the entry of new players into video games is a danger for the medium?