PlayStation America Boss Has Been Preparing for E3 for Three Months; “Lots to Talk About” on PlayStation VR at GDC

on March 12, 2016 1:15 AM

Shawn Layden has been at the helm of Sony Computer Entertainment America for two years, and he took some time to reminisce and even tease a bit on the latest episode of the PlayStation BlogCast.

Below you can check out a quick recap of what he mentioned:

  • Layden has been preparing for E3 for the past three months.
  • When Layden started at PlayStation Japan, back when the first PlayStation was launched, it was a “crazy time.” They had one floor with the marketing, sales, finance and product development departments all together.
  • People used to say that Sony was crazy to get into a business dominated by Sega and Nintendo.
  • Layden’s first job at Sony Computer Entertainment was as Localization Producer with the “impossible task” of bringing western games to Japan and finding an audience for them there. The first big success  was probably Formula 1.
  • A lot of tweaking was done under the hood to make those games more appealing to the Japanese public, including the difficulty factor and some of the characters.
  • Layden mentioned (possibly joking), that he’s now forbidden to mention the two words of the title of a popular platformer from that time (which is quite obviously Crash Bandicoot).
  • There were two points of views in the company at that time, one that thought that getting into gaming was crazy, and that it was similar to toys, and another that believed in Ken Kutaragi’s view, and felt that Sony could leverage the power of the CD.
  • The advent of the CD completely changed the business model. Burining ROMs for Sega and Nintendo cartridges had very high minimum orders of 140-150,000 copies, which made it risky. With CDs, you could pretty much print any quantity you wanted, and orders were filled very quickly, with a turnaround of about seven days.
  • Innovation and the business model were the biggest contributors to PlayStation’s success.
  • Sony will have a “lot of things to talk about” on PlayStation VR at GDC next week.
  • According to Layden, now it’s the “perfect storm” for VR technology. Sony has the combination of the necessary processing and graphics power in the PS4, the display technology that can display the games at a fidelity that looks natural, and the production technology to create a headset that is well suited for the human head, and that won’t create tiresome experiences by just wearing it. All of those things coming together make now the right time for VR, and. It’s gonna be “super exciting” to see all the content coming out for it not just in gaming, but in other forms of entertainment as well.
  • Layden has seen a lot of games that are “an extension” of the standard gaming experience, and some that come “totally from the left field.” Those attempts have different degrees of success, but that’s the exciting part of it.
  • Layden thinks that VR can be to console gaming like smartphones are to feature phones. He feels that in five years we’re gonna go “wow, there’s so much that we didn’t know we could do with VR, but we do now.”

It’ll be interesting to see what Sony has in store at the upcoming Game Developers Conference and at E3. Incidentally, the PlayStation Blogcast celebrates its 200th, episode, so congratulations to them!

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.