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Ex-PlayStation Chief On Streamline And Rising Video Game Development Costs

Last we heard from Shawn Layden, ex-PlayStation boss, he is on the advisory board at company Streamline Media Group, a game services company that also runs the Malaysia-based game-making/art-outsourcing company Streamline Studios. His current plan for the video game industry? To prevent video game development from continuing down its unsustainable path.

A recent Bloomberg interview with Layden stated that game development is doubling in cost in every platform, with his budgets for big PlayStation 4 exclusive titles like Uncharted 4 and Ghost of Tsushima hitting US$100 million. He said that the only way to stop the cost curve from going up is to de-risk video game releases, predicting that PS5 games will cost US$200 million and will keep going up if nothing is ever done.

“If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it. That puts you in a place where you’re incentivized toward sequels. What happens there is you end up with 3-4 silos of games or game types [from big companies like Activision and Epic Games] that continue to exist, and variety is squeezed out.

[While at PlayStation], I think I contributed a part into showing the world what amazing gameplay can look like.”

Layden hopes that by advising Streamline and shepherding its global strategy for video games and similar enterprises, he and the company can focus on helping facilitate game development around the world, leading to more diverse games.

“We are now the largest entertainment medium in the world, except on a social impact level we punch below our weight. My goal in the last act of my career is really to bring more people into gaming creation, more people from all over the world, [and] bring more people into the enjoyment of gaming.”

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