Sony’s Shawn Layden Open to Acquiring New First-Party Studios, Wants a More Fan-Centric E3

Nathan Birch
Shawn Layden tencent

Over the past year-or-so, Microsoft has been on a shopping spree, snatching up numerous indie studios like Obsidian Entertainment, Ninja Theory, and Playground Games, but rival Sony hasn’t opened their checkbooks in response. Will the PlayStation first-party team be expanding at all as we head into the next generation of consoles?

Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Shawn Layden touched on the question in a recent interview with CNET. According to Layden, the plan is continue Sony’s recent approach of focusing on a smaller number of highly-polished games, but, that said, some acquisitions could happen…

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“We're striking on all the beats that we want to, and we're getting both critical and commercial acclaim. Let's see now what we might add to our arsenal. […] We're always exploring opportunities. If we found a partner or a team or a game that we felt was particularly meaningful and interesting, we will look to bring that in. We're always open to that kind of experience.”

Interestingly, Layden also touched on why Sony will be skipping E3 this year. It sounds like this may not be the last time Sony no-shows, as Layden would like to see the event go in a different direction…

“Back in 1995 during the PS1 era, E3 served two constituencies: retailers and journalists. […] retail has really dropped off. And journalists now, with the internet and the fact that 24/7 there is game news, it's lost its impact. So, the trade show became a trade show without a lot of trade activity. The world has changed, but E3 hasn't necessarily changed with it.

We are progressing the conversation about, how do we transform E3 to be more relevant? Can E3 transition more into a fan festival of gaming, where we don't gather there to drop the new bomb? Can't it just be a celebration of games and have panels where we bring game developers closer to fans?”

What do you think? What studios would you like to see Sony snap up? And do you like Layden’s vision for E3 or do you prefer the traditional big-announcement-packed extravaganza?

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