Former SIE President Shawn Layden has left Sony, according to a tweet from the official PlayStation account. The news comes suddenly from the company and without a traditional press release causing speculation as to what happened.
It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE. 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!
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) September 30, 2019
The tweet reads,
“It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE. 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!”
Layden has been with Sony in different roles since 198y when he was the Communications Assistant for Sony co-founder Akio Morita. He eventually moved to Sony Computer Entertainment’s London Studio, and eventually became Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in 1999. After holding a few more positions in Sony corporate, including President of SCE Japan and Executive Vice President and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International, Layden became President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America in 2014. He oversaw one of the most successful periods in PlayStation history during his tenure.
In 2018, Layden’s focus became Worldwide Studios, the collective efforts of Sony’s owned development studios. Examples of games coming from Worldwide Studios include God of War (2018), Uncharted 4, and Knack.
Layden has become famous in the PlayStation community for his presence during Sony’s E3 and PSX showcases while wearing a shirt teasing about upcoming games. Layden has worn a Crash Bandicoot and MediEvil shirt teasing their announcements on stage.
The tweet does have a heartfelt and sincere tone, possibly signaling this announcement might not stem from a skeleton in his closet. There also isn’t an announcement for Layden’s replacement, so this change could have taken Sony by surprise as well.
However, a new report from Gamedaily.biz hints at some turmoil within PlayStation after the corporate restructuring and a transition to the next PlayStation. GameDaily’s report mentions how President and CEO of SIE Jim Ryan and Layden have different philosophies about running the company. One such difference was the cross-play feature popping up in games such as Fortnite, Rocket League, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Ryan’s stance has been firm in not allowing cross-play, while Layden has been more open to the feature. Ryan also wants to build PlayStation around cloud gaming when Layden believes in a traditional gaming model.
We wish Layden the best of luck in his future endeavors, and we’ll update you on where the former Sony exec lands.
What do you think of this announcement? Are you surprised? Why do you think Layden suddenly left? Let us know in the comments below.