Shawn Layden steps down from PlayStation Worldwide Studios

The PlayStation world was rocked on Monday, as Sony announced the abrupt departure of Chairman Shawn Layden from Sony Worldwide Studios.


Monday ended in stunning fashion for the gaming community. The PlayStation world was rocked as Sony announced that SIE Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden had abruptly stepped down from his position. No reason was given for Layden's sudden departure. Only a single tweet has been issued on the matter.

"It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE," reads the PlayStation Twitter account. "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 had been one of the longest-tenured executives on the PlayStation brand even before PlayStation was ever a blip on Sony's radar. Layden first started with Sony back in 1987 and originally joined the Sony Computer Entertainment staff back in 1996. Layden succeeded Jack Tretton back in 2014 as SCEA CEO before being named SIE Worldwide Studios Chairman just last year. Layden had already been one of the PlayStation division's most public faces, having frequently made statements to the press, issued statements to the PlayStation user base, and even appearing at the 2018 Game Awards in an unprecedented show of unity with Xbox's Phil Spencer and Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime.

Layden's departure from PlayStation is a stunner, especially as he has overseen a number of high-profile moves for the company. Among his most recent initiatives has been the introduction of PlayStation VR, the purchase of Insomniac Games, and the shift towards bite-sized State of Play showcases. Layden has also overseen his share of controversies, finding himself in the middle of Sony's great cross-play debate and also making the choice to move away from big trade shows, having cancelled the PlayStation Experience expo while also pulling PlayStation out of the E3 trade show for the first time in 24 years.

Shacknews will continue to follow this developing story, as we seek to learn what's next for PlayStation and who will lead the company into the next console generation.

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Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 1, 2019 4:30 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shawn Layden steps down from PlayStation Worldwide Studios

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      October 1, 2019 6:51 AM


      I can't put my finger on it, but there was something about Shawn Layden I didn't like.

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        October 1, 2019 6:53 AM

        I was never a fan either.

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        October 1, 2019 7:02 AM

        He has a very calculating presence to him. Not so much reading off script in any of the public appearances, but seeming meticulous about how each line came out and thus lacking emotion, when you compare his E3 presentations to Reggie or Phil Spectre. Not quite "cold and calculating" but in that ballpark.

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          October 1, 2019 7:08 AM

          I am curious to hear how the games industry pundits talk about this or if there are any leaks that offer some backstory to the exit.

          For such a seasoned, top tier manager to abruptly leave is bizarre. Like, it was a big deal when Andrew House left but he stuck around for like half a year after his departure announcement.

          Did Layden die on some hill over the direction of the PS5?

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            October 1, 2019 7:11 AM

            There was a good point in an article I can't immediately find, but Sept 30 was Sony's end of FY Q2. Another high level exec, Atsushi Morita President of SIE Japan Asia, also announced his departure today and so departures at the end of quarter help smooth out how they have to report things on the books.

            Sony's in a dominate market position, so I don't think there's anything particularly nefarious here. Just was a surprise to everyone.

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              October 1, 2019 8:12 AM

              FY Q2? Fiscal Year end or Quarter 2 end? Which is it?

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                October 1, 2019 8:13 AM

                Meant shortcut, It's the end of their second quarter of Sony's fiscal calendar.

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                  October 1, 2019 8:20 AM


                  🤔 Yeah I mean, that's an astute find their with Atsushi also leaving.

                  And yes, they have a comfy marketshare lead. Which makes Sony seem all the more strange. They've been radio silent for a while and shuffling management, which is usually the sort of activity of a company that's in trouble or their back against the wall.

                  Also, although timing it with Quarter End makes some sense, it's only half the fiscal year and also without notice.

                  Definitely seems like there's a big scoop to be had here.

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