Sony Boss Opens Up About PlayStation's First Party Philosophy

It's no secret that Sony is absolutely slaying the first party arena of games, especially when seeing how Xbox has struggled through the years. Though Xboss Phil Spencer is looking to turn that around, presently Sony continues to dominate. With The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima and so many more exclusives down the line, passionate gamers around the world may be curious as to how Sony approaches the gaming market and what their particular philosophy could be.

In a recent interview with Venturbeat, Shawn Layden, the Sony Worldwide Studio boss, recent broke their philosophy of games into three very basic steps:

  • First
  • Best
  • Must

But what does that mean exactly?

“The game you’re working on has to fulfill at least one of the criteria, preferably too. 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."

Layden went on to explain, "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.”

But what about "being the best?" “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.”

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And finally - the "Must." According to Layden, this part is absolutely crucial and most reflects what they are trying to do.

"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.”

It's hard to deny the "first, best, and must" philosophy and it seems to be going incredibly well for them so far. As for 2018, we've still got tons of new games to look forward to!