Former PlayStation Boss Sees Acquisitions As Enemy of Creativity

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Consolidation Results In Generic & Similar Games!

Story Highlights
  • Former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden does not like the current trend of industry acquisitions.
  • Following the Activision Blizzard deal, he remarks that consolidation is the enemy of creativity.
  • PlayStation has itself bought plenty of studios, including Bungie, Insomniac, and more.

Right after Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion, fans were worried about the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation. However, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan managed to sign a thrilling deal to keep the franchise on PlayStation for ten years.

Despite the deal falling in place, former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden says that acquisitions are the enemy of creativity.

Why it matters: Microsoft is not alone in the trend of industry acquisitions, with many gaming giants buying up smaller studios to gather talent in one place.

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During an interview with CNBC, Layden shared his thoughts on the subject of acquisitions. The former PlayStation Boss has never been one to appreciate this trend, even before Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard.

He pointed to the likes of Microsoft and Embracer Group during the interview, but PlayStation itself partakes in consolidation quite frequently. Acquisitions from the gaming giant within the last few years include the likes of Bungie, Insomniac Games, Firesprite, Housemarque, Bluepoint Games, and more.

I see consolidation to be the enemy of creativity.

-Shawn Layden

He pointed out that commoditizing a product results in more of the same. Proving his point, PlayStation’s recent acquisition of Bungie has not resulted in the best outcome, with Destiny 2 struggling and the team being hit by layoffs.

Shawn Layden sees this trend as a problem for the wider gaming industry. His stance is also given more validity after his history of greenlighting many unique projects and working with smaller teams.

For Call of Duty, however, the recent acquisition might not be the worst outcome. Activision Blizzard has struggled with this franchise recently, with Modern Warfare 3 becoming the IP’s worst-rated release to date.

More leeway from Microsoft could, therefore, lead to the betterment of Call of Duty. However, Shawn Layden’s point holds a lot of validity, even if it has become necessary for survival in the industry.

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