Former PlayStation boss Layden says triple-A game dev is unsustainable

Former PlayStation boss Layden says triple-A game dev is unsustainable

The ex-head of PlayStation Worldwide Studios, Shawn Layden, has once again said that triple-A game budgets are not sustainable.

Speaking to Bloomberg about his new advisory role at games service firm Streamline, the Sony Interactive Entertainment alum said that the amount of money it takes to make a blockbuster game is rising exponentially. Layden said that while at SIE, PlayStation 4 titles cost in the region of $100 million to make, while he expects games on the new PS5 will cost double that figure.

This, the former exec says, leads to publishers being risk-averse and mostly only willing to release the same kinds of games over and over again. Layden does admit that he played a role in that push for larger budgets.

“If we can’t stop the cost curve from going up, all we can do is try to de-risk it," he said.

"That puts you in a place where you’re incentivized toward sequels.”

Layden left SIE in September 2019 after 25 years at the company. This isn't the first time that the former exec has said that the current nature of triple-A games is not sustainable.

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.