Sony’s CEO Discusses PS4 Anniversary, Developments, and #GamerGate

Saturday, November 15th marked the anniversary for Sony’s Playstation 4, which has reportedly shipped 13.5 million consoles worldwide — more than Microsoft’s announced figure for Xbox One. Today, an article on GamesBeat featuring President and CEO of Sony Company Entertainment America Shawn Layden was published to give more detail on Sony’s renewed dominance in the console game market. Layden, a 27-year veteran of Sony, pointed out not only the number of PS4s shipped, but also the 530 million share button presses and 56 million unique active Playstation Network users that have accumulated in the past year. But despite success from the past three quarters, the Japanese console manufacturer is gearing up for the upcoming Christmas season, which will kick off with Black Friday sales.

“…13.5 million is a pretty good achievement for us. As anyone else would say, the first 13.5 million is the easy 13.5 million. We need to continue to push that installed base. We’re in a strong position now. Black Friday is just around the corner. In my neighborhood we heard “Jingle Bells” in the department stores in September, but Black Friday is the real kickoff.”

“We’ve been the leading next-gen console for the last 10 months. It would have been 12 months had we gotten enough product in the market in December 2013. Those challenges have all settled out. It’s a first-class problem to have, to be honest. But now Europe and Japan are lit up. We have a global PlayStation 4 presence, and that’s good.

At the start of any new platform, there’s a lot of energy and focus on that launch window for the hardware, getting the software in there. Then there’s the inevitable lull a few months after that. But we saw, starting late this summer with titles like Madden and Destiny coming out strong in September, it’s been snowballing into the holiday. The content pipeline is flush now.”

source: Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg

Source: Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg

Now that Sony’s taken a dominant position, Layden’s approach for strong sell-through is with benefit and value: with new features like games-streaming service PSNow and television-streaming service PSView, Layden hopes to elevate the PS4 as a multimedia console and customize the user interface experience. And despite the PS4 coming off a little light on exclusive releases, Sony is concentrating on efforts to maximize hardware performance and expand publishing efforts to independent developer communities, with Sumo Digital’s forthcoming release Little Big Planet 3 leading the wave. Folks who already have the PS4 may be keen to note the setback caused by the 2.0 update patch, which Layden also addresses:

“Knock on wood, the issues have been ironed out. Sometimes, in our excitement to bring some great new innovation to market as quickly as we can, we move really fast. I like to think we can remediate very quickly as well.” 

In the interview, Layden was also eager to share updates for Sony’s upcoming hosted three-day consumer event, Playstation Experience in Las Vegas. While it will be the ground for developers to reveal new projects and industry announcements, Playstation Experience will also present more information on PS4’s tournament- and eSports-related activities.

Finally, Layden talks briefly about the #GamerGate movement, echoing a sentiment similar to Mike Morheime of Blizzard:

“I think the industry has spoken with one voice on this one, through the ESA. All of us are members of that trade body, including me and Phil Spencer and Reggie and all the big publishers…I don’t think there is one statement or one position on it, or one answer to whatever this very broadly-defined #GamerGate really means. A lot of things are getting swept into that. I’ll be very clear about my view of harassment or bullying. It’s completely unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. I will not be vague or equivocate about that.

The question about women in the gaming industry, that’s something we all take on board as individual corporations. We are best in class — or close to it, certainly – in this industry. In the development group we have Shannon Studstill, who runs our whole Santa Monica operation. She’s going to bring the next big franchise out from there. We have Connie Booth, the studio head up here in San Mateo. Women executives up and down the [organization chart], and in the production teams. We make our statement just by executing to that plan.”

You can read more details on the GamesBeat interview here. Background image source: Chris Weeks / Getty Images for SCEA. For future updates on industry-related events, follow us on Twitter @APGNation.

Ryan Mo
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Ryan Mo refers to himself in the third-person perspective because he is uncomfortable with directly writing to readers. His writing voice takes after that of John Barth, one of his influences while studying English Literature in college (but he’ll also settle for Christopher Walken). Growing up, he took an interest in Magic: The Gathering for its card artwork and names, the latter of which expanded his vocabulary and contributed to nearly every horrible deck he’s ever made. Ryan has never played a Zelda game, and the only Pokemon installment he’s touched is Sapphire Version. He’s not sorry for that. He believes Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has the best OST of all time, and hopes for Baldur’s Gate III to be completed and released. If he could have any pet Ryan would choose an Ultralisk, but recently settled for a Mackerel tabby who he affectionately named Milktea.Ryan is simultaneously amused and perplexed by the micro-aggressive tendencies of the Tumblr community, and is constantly warned to never go on Reddit. When he is not dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, he might be writing about music, making (little) headway through his queue of books, or stripping Tyria to craft that piece of Ascended Gear on Guild Wars 2. He is Honey Boy’s #1 fan and always insists on adding more lens flare.

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