Former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden has opened up about the state of the games industry. Here are his thoughts on AI, rising development costs, and other topics.

Shawn Layden (Image credit:

Layden sees large language models and AI as an assisting technology. “Of course, you’ve got some large business consulting group claiming that by 2030 50% of games will all be written by AI… that is not going to happen,” he told

He believes that AI tools are capable of creating drafts and speeding up some processes. No more, no less. So Layden doesn’t agree with the idea that companies will be able to use AI to create complex games from scratch.

AI only sees in one direction, which is backwards. It puts stuff together to make you think you're seeing forward, but you're really not, you're just seeing a rehash of backward. AI is kind of like the really eager intern that you can say: 'hey give me nine pages on something' and they're like 'sure boss' and they crank it out. But you do have to fact check. AI hallucinates and goes off the rails.'

Shawn Layden

former president and CEO of SIE Worldwide Studios

At the same time, Layden says engineers need to look towards automation of certain things, creating tools that allow machines to do more work. He cited No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games as an example of a smaller team that “spent a lot of time building the pipeline, the toolset, which allowed them to create over and over, making the machine do most of the procedural heavy lifting.”

The former PlayStation head also touched on the topic of rising costs in AAA game development. He thinks one way of making this process cheaper is to create shorter projects. “We live in a world where only 32% of gamers actually finish the game, so we’re making a lot of game that 68% of the people aren’t seeing,” he told “So should we continue to build games that are unlikely for most of the people to even see the end of it?”

Layden also noted that instead of chasing photorealistic graphics, studios should focus on game design and things that can add fun and improve the story and other elements. “Again, let’s stop looking at the game as merely a collection of time-based activities with a certain visual acuity to it,” he said. “Let’s create an activity that would be fun, and these are the rules, these are the characters… and not be begin to deconstruct a game simply based on whether its frame rate held 60 every time. You don’t deconstruct movies like that.”

Shawn Layden is an experienced executive, who spent 32 years at Sony working in a variety of roles. He oversaw the launches of several generations of PlayStation consoles and helped ship many PS4 titles such as God of War, Death Stranding, and Detroit: Become Human.

After leaving Sony in 2019, Layden served as a strategic advisor at Streamline Media Group and Tencent. Earlier this year, he joined the board of Griple, a social media app with gaming features aimed at sports fans.

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