Former PlayStation Boss Says Exclusivity Harms $200 Million Games

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Former Boss Hopes For Return To AA Gaming!

Story Highlight
  • Former PlayStation Head Shawn Layden believes $200 million games need as many platforms as possible.
  • He states that such budgets are unsustainable.
  • The executives hope to see the industry returning to AA projects.

Console gaming and exclusivity have been major points of discussion in 2024, especially after Microsoft began to release more of its games on rival platforms.

While Nintendo is still comfortable in its old ways, PlayStation has recently launched the highly successful Helldivers 2 on PC and PS5, signaling a shared future between consoles and PC.

Former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden seems to agree, suggesting that games with budgets of $200-250 million back themselves into a corner with exclusivity.

Why it matters: Exclusivity has always been a core part of console gaming for all competitors.

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Spider-Man 2 Was Insomniac Games’ Most Expensive Project

Speaking to Venture Beat, Shawn Layden was asked about Microsoft’s recent announcement.

Phil Spencer has previously talked about the need to grow an ecosystem. This may not be possible with consoles alone since this market has consistently stayed at the same number of users in two decades.

Shawn Layden used this point to highlight why AAA games with massive budgets are a bad idea when they are kept exclusive. According to the former PlayStation executive, such projects need every last bit of revenue.

When your cost for a game exceeds $200 million, exclusivity is your Achilles’ heel.

-Shawn Layden

He states that the same concept applies to both single-player and live-service titles. Even if a new platform brings 10% more players, publishers need to be able to realize this opportunity.

PlayStation Shawn Layden
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Recent Insomniac Games leaks confirmed PlayStation spent north of $300 million on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. While the game has sold an impressive 10 million units so far, such budgets limit the profitability of AAA projects.

Shawn Layden sees a focus on AA games as a potential solution. As a supporter of more niche and unique projects from his days at PlayStation, the executive hopes the industry will pivot toward these types of releases.

I’m hoping for a return to double-A gaming.

-Shawn Layden

Such opinions suggest the industry will eventually shift away from exclusivity and AAA titles, even if it does not want to. For PlayStation, a shared future between PC and console gaming is becoming clearer every day, with recent PC ports like Horizon Forbidden West and Ghost of Tsushima.

The gaming giant will likely accelerate the PC releases further, possibly transitioning toward day-one releases for all games eventually.

Featured Image Credit: True Trophies

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