At E3 this year, Shawn Layden was interviewed by German website, Golem.de. Shawn is the bearded fellow we have seen hosting the last few Sony press conferences. He is Head of Sony Interactive Studios America and Worldwide. What we are about to learn from him can be taken about as authentically as is possible, when discussing the near future and the Playstation 5.
PS4 Pro Exclusive Games Debunked
Since the release of the PS4 Pro, several concerns have cropped up among the gamer base. Some worry that PS4 Pro exclusive games will soon arrive. Or that console generations are dead, giving rise to a smartphone style of marketing. When Layden was asked whether the former would become reality, he reassures us with a loud and clear “That will never happen!”. Good to know. But what about the Playstation 5?
Playstation 5 Confirmed. Mid Generation Console Upgrades A One-Off?
Astutely, the interviewer from golem.de went on to propose denying this would insinuate a Playstation 5 could be a real thing. Again, without mincing words, Layden simply states “Yes. But it will be some time”. This makes perfect sense. The Playstation 4 is one of the most commercially successful consoles ever made. Its catalogue of exclusive, high quality titles is already impressive. Let alone the many we have yet to see. Is it any wonder Layden has vaguely admitted the Playstation 5 is a ways off?
With a digital library brimming with indie titles and mystery games like Cyberpunk 2033 to wait for… Could this end up being the longest console generation ever? Could that ultimately hold back the evolution of videogames? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Shawn, You Forgot The Indies!
After E3, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the hype for upcoming titles. We can forget about the games that have gone under the radar this year. You can catch up on those in our other article. Yet, one thing that a certain niche of gamers have found controversial is the lack of indie titles explored during this year’s press conference. When golem.de questioned Layden on where Sony’s priorities lie, he cleverly sidestepped the question.
“We want to continue growing with our platform. The first 60 million are the simple 60 million – the second 60 million are the real challenge. This also means, of course, that we have to address more target groups…But as with every Playstation generation, we have to expand the target group gradually. The Spider-Man game will help us. Everyone knows Spider-Man, with this brand we can win new players.”
Clearly, Layden has plenty of experience curating the information he delivers during interviews. However, despite his sidestepping moves, an answer to golem.de’s intriguing question can be found elsewhere. In a separate interview at E3, with Playstation Europe Chief, Jim Ryan, we learned a lot about VR’s impact on the industry. His choice of words have been chalked up as uncaring, controversial… poorly chosen, yet honest.
The Age Of The Indie May Be Coming To An End
Ryan believes that Playstation has already dominated the indie scene and that the exposure for that can now be eased off a little. Even major websites like pushsquare.com have admitted that some months, as much as 100 games need to be reviewed, a vast majority – indie titles. It’s indeed hard to recall an indie game that hasn’t eventually ended up on PS4 if it wasn’t there already.
“And the fact that we elected […] not to give it its own spot on the stage this week, in no way means it is not important, or it is not there, or we don’t worry about it… One of the things we have realised is that these video collages of ten indie games shown in a minute, is almost meaningless. Nobody can really learn anything about the games in that sort of time. It is almost viewed as wasted time.”
We would be inclined to agree with Ryan’s words. Yet, his delivery of what he means could be worked on a little. Almost brutally honest, he perhaps needs to be a little more aware of the fanbase’s affection for the area of gaming he’s talking about. A little like gently breaking the news to a friend that you spilled coffee all over their PS4 and that it no longer works.
While it may be painful to hear Ryan, in the same interview clumsily stating that indie games are “less relevant these days”, one thing is clear after these two interviews.
What’s Really Going On…
After the extra spotlight time set aside for VR in this year’s press conference, coupled with these interviews, we can see Sony is focusing on exactly what it’s going to do with VR. It has released first generation tech into the middle of an existing generation console. Sony needs to figure how to prioritise its marketing methods and increase the VR’s user base as its targets have not been reached.
Sony is still working on manufacturing enough headsets to reach consumer demand. When they reach that demand, they will have had to prepare thoroughly for that larger audience. Yet, should it mean shying away from the indie scene? The very scene that made this generation of Playstation so successful? Plenty of opinions to go around so please, go ahead and get a discussion started in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.