Shawn Laydon PlayStation

Ex-PlayStation CEO Shawn Layden Criticizes Exclusivity for AAA Games

In a recent interview, Ex-PlayStation CEO Shawn Layden criticized the exclusivity of big-budget AAA games.

Former PlayStation CEO Shawn Layden criticized the exclusivity of PlayStation and discussed how the format does not mesh with the modern game industry. As closures and layoffs in companies have taken a toll in 2023 and 2024, this topic is definitely current and essential to discuss for the industry and players worldwide.

What Does Shawn Layden Criticize?

In a GamesBeat interview, Shawn Layden goes into extensive detail and criticizes companies’ decisions to make their AAA games exclusive. He discusses that by reducing the number of players, games are open to exclude people who will enjoy the game. He also highlights live service games and explains that although they may not be exclusive games, selling to the same audience does not grow an audience and increase development budgets.

“When your costs for a game exceed $200 million, exclusivity is your Achilles’ heel. It reduces your addressable market. Particularly when you’re in the world of live service gaming or free-to-play. Another platform is just another way of opening the funnel, getting more people in. In a free-to-play world, as we know, 95% percent of those people will never spend a nickel. The business is all about conversion. You have to improve your odds by cracking the funnel open. Helldivers 2 has shown that for PlayStation, coming out on PC at the same time. Again, you get that funnel wider. You get more people in.”

Ghost of Tsushima, Image Credit – PlayStation

Shawn Layden then goes on to say that reducing the addressable market also dwindles the amount of profit companies can potentially make. Players want to enjoy as many games as they can and keeping a game exclusive does not allow companies to show off their game to everyone. He also addresses that if companies keep with this theme, the cycle of not attracting non-console players into console gaming will continue.

“If you’re spending $250 million, you want to be able to sell it to as many people as possible, even if it’s just 10% more. The global installed base for consoles–if you go back to the PS1 and everything else stacked up there, wherever in time you look at it, the cumulative consoles out there never gets over 250 million. It just doesn’t. The dollars have gone up over time. But I look at that and see that we’re just taking more money from the same people. That happened during the pandemic, which made a lot of companies overinvest. Look at our numbers going up! We have to chase that rocket!

“We’re not doing enough to get heretofore non-console people into console gaming. We’re not going to attract them by doing more of the shit we’re doing now. If 95% of the world doesn’t want to play Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Grand Theft Auto, is the industry just going to make more Call of Duty, Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto? That’s not going to get you anybody else.”

The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Image Credit – PlayStation

Over the years, many players have expressed their frustrations with exclusivity in the gaming industry. Either not having the platform needed to enjoy an exclusive game or simply not having access to cross-platform play certain multiplayer games. Hopefully, in the future, things will change, and no matter which platform gamers play, everyone can enjoy whatever game they want.

That’s everything you need to know about Ex-PlayStation CEO Shawn Layden’s criticism of PlayStation’s exclusivity for big-budget AAA games.