Shaun Layden on first-party strategy

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white crow
Super Mod
Cornerstone Member
Sep 11, 2013
This is from a talk he and Cerny did.

On which games Sony’s first-party studios will do.

First, best, or must. The game you’re working on has to fulfill at least one of the criteria, preferably two. First means creating a first of its kind game — a genre that doesn’t exist, a market that hasn’t been actualized yet. Will your game do that?

That’s an obligation for us as first-party development. We’re not here to create games that steal market share from other publishers. Because we manage the platform, it’s not to steal pieces of the pie. It’s to grow the entire pie. If you create a new genre like Parappa the Rapper did — rhythm action gaming, who know that would be a genre? Or SingStar, bringing in a microphone to your living room? And soon coming out of our studios, a game called Concrete Genie, a new form of entertainment we haven’t seen before. If you can fulfill that, at a Worldwide Studios studios level we’re interested in that project.

Best is probably the easiest one to explain. If you’re best, it means if you’re making an action-adventure, you’re making Uncharted or God of War. If you’re making a racing game, you’re making Gran Turismo. Or a golf game, Everybody’s Golf, my favorite golf game. You must be the best in class. If someone came up with a plan, did all the spreadsheets, and said, “Shawn, this is going to make money for us and it’s going to be the fourth-best racing game ever,” I’m not interested in doing the fourth-best anything. That wouldn’t be something we’d get behind.

Must is probably the other thing that reflects our position as first-party development attached to the platform. There are some games we must do, even if initially the profitability might be hard to make. For example, an easy one for that is PSVR games. When you’re trying to grow the PSVR installed base, how many units are in homes, it’s difficult for some third parties to look at that addressable market and get the business to work for them. But we need games to move the platform. It’s a chicken and egg thing. So at Worldwide Studios we took on a number of PSVR projects in order to support the launch of that platform and getting it off the ground.

So first, best, and must. We look at all of our games through that lens. It helps us make the right decisions, most of the time.

Does Sony have the right number of first-party developers and studios for the console war?

For Worldwide Studios now, our output, the number of teams we have, I think it’s about the right size for what we need to do. We’re never going to be like Nintendo, holding the lion’s share of the Nintendo platform game business, because that’s not the way we work. We want to make the PlayStation platform available to all of our third-partners. I think we build success for PlayStation by getting as many people inside the tent as possible that aren’t necessarily controlled by Worldwide Studios.

For Worldwide Studios, our road to success is not necessarily measured by how many studios or how many people I have. It’s if we’re creating significant, impactful, important content that’s either first, best, or must-have products. I don’t really think it’s a numbers game like that.
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The Sunset Limited

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2017
The only thing I feel I might be able to glean from that is the "We're not concerned with the size of our first party" statement. They might be trying to dous the flames of current and future Microsoft studio aquisitions with that line. Everything else could have been coming out the mouths of any big publisher really, Imo.

This was the last PR that I actually meant somethibg from Sony to me.

TLDR: Kojima saying Sony gives them 100% creative freedom.


Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2013
I like that he talks about complimenting the lineup as opposed to just dipping into whatever genre is big


PS4 is #1
Cornerstone Member
Sep 12, 2013
Whatever the plan was it's been working since the PS3 days. First two consoles relied more on third party. PS1 and PS2 were successful in large part due to a lack of competition. Sony knew they had to bring it once Microsoft stepped into the ring, and that's why they are who they are today. They knew they had to set themselves apart.

There were some good exclusives on PS1/PS2 but Sony's first party wasn't there yet. It took them two full generations to start clicking on all cylinders. Now they're an unstoppable force on the first party games front. If you want to play some of the best narrative driven immersive games on the market you need a PS4. No way around it.