SIE Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden is Departing PlayStation
Big company shakeups are never fun, especially when they involve losing people who've been a big asset to the companies they're a part of for years and years. It's been happening more and more lately, something that comes with the territory of the passing of time. The latest news is no different, though the reasons behind it are less clear at this point. In a company tweet put out the other day by PlayStation's official Twitter account, the studio announced that Worldwide Studios Chairman and PlayStation head, Shawn Layden, will be departing SIE after so many years working for them. Despite the huge announcement, the details behind it remain rather scarce, and the timing is extra bewildering considering how close we're getting to the next console generation and the unveiling of the PlayStation 5.
"It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE," the tweet reads. "His visionary leadership will be greatly missed. We wish him success in future endeavors and are deeply grateful for his years of service. Thanks for everything, Shawn!" Following the announcement, multiple sites tried to get a hold of Sony for more info about the reason behind his departure. Sony only got back to Polygon, stating that they had "no other information at this moment". Layden's professional accounts, including his Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, bear no mention of the departure either. While things are still up in the air, for now, some speculate it may be due to an internal restructuring within PlayStation and Sony as a whole, particularly as the latter approaches a more global business model. Unfortunately, that can only serve as pure theorizing until we hear more from Sony or Layden themselves.
Layden started out in Sony as an assistant to the company's co-founder, Akio Morita, working out of Japan in 1987. Layden eventually switched gears and moved to London, managing software for SCE London up until the turn of the century when he received a promotion to Vice President of SCE Europe. Layden continued moving up the Sony ladder, with all of it finally reaching ahead in 2014 once Sony's then-President and CEO, Jack Tretton, stepped down from his position. Layden was chosen to be his successor and has served as the public face of PlayStation for the five years since, appearing up-front and center at almost all of their public appearances, including E3 and The Game Awards shows. With this news, it's hard to say what this means for PlayStation's business model going forward, or how it will affect the PS5's launch. Whatever the case, Layden is responsible for helping bring in a lot of Sony's most notable first-party developers, such as Insomniac Games, creating partnerships that have led to some of PlayStation's most critically-acclaimed exclusives.
With Layden now departing, and the departure of the former head of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aimé, the businesses and public-facing of the Big Three are shaping up to look wildly different in the next console generation. It hasn't been said yet who will be taking Shawn Layden's place, but make sure you keep an eye out for news on that front, as well as an additional word from those involved. As discussed recently, both Sony and Microsoft are gearing up for their new consoles, with the latter already giving it a tease at this past E3 2019. Word on the PlayStation 5 has been pretty silent; no doubt Sony is doing its best to keep leaks from escaping, which is a much trickier endeavor in the connected age that we live in. All they could recently share, so far, is that the PS5 will feature optional power saving modes to help combat climate change. He'll definitely be missed.