PlayStation Boss Explains What Went Wrong With the PS3

Sony Interactive Entertainment is on top of the gaming world at the moment with the PS4. But this [...]

playstation 3
(Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Sony Interactive Entertainment is on top of the gaming world at the moment with the PS4. But this wasn't always the case. Just last-generation, Sony was playing catch up to Microsoft and Xbox 360 with the PS3.

The days of the very pompous and disconnected Sony of last-gen are a very stark contrast to the Sony that has been killing it this generation and killed it the generation before the PS3. So, what the heck happened? Well, PlayStation boss Shawn Layden recently shed some light into what went wrong.

"Many of you know that PlayStation 2 was an industry triumph," said Layden during his keynote at the DICE Summit this week. "It remains one of the best-selling consoles of all time. But coming off the heels of that was PlayStation 3, a stark moment of hubris in the nearly 25 years of PlayStation history. As we sometimes call it, PS3 was our Icarus moment... For our business, the fall was sharp. We hadn't listened to our customers. We created a devilish development environment. We reacted too slowly, and our network was under-developed. And worst of all, if you remember, was the price point."

Layden continued:

"While the PlayStation 3 and our fight to stay relevant has been well-covered, what wasn't as well-covered was the call we made at the time to transform our company into what we are today. We doubled our efforts to develop incredible games and strengthen our partnerships for the next generation. We listened to developers and gamers. We listened to Mark Cerny. We created PS4, a console for developers as much as it was for fans. We focused on the quality of our games, on making titles that would stand the test of time the way the best pieces of art often do."

According to Layden, the focus on quality above all was instilled in him by none other than Sony's founder and chairman Akio Morita and his time working with the visionary.

"He would say we must forever push innovation, even if it meant murdering our darlings," Layden said. "We have to make our products obsolete before other people do, because they will. Morita-san understood well the innovator's dilemma, and grappled with it constantly."

According to Layden, many of Sony's biggest games this generation -- Horizon: Zero Dawn, Bloodborne, the new God of War soft reboot -- can be traced back to the company's change in mentality and practice last-generation. Layden specifically pointed out Horizon: Zero Dawn further, noting that the team at Guerrilla Games was ready to expand on its established Killzone formula, but then decided to open the creative process up to include pitches from all different developers on the team. Of these 30 or so pitches was Horizon: Zero Dawn.

"Some people have said, 'No one will be interested in robot dinosaurs.' You know who you are. Yet again, creativity wins."