Former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden, having departed the console manufacturer in September 2019, has found a new home. Today the former Sony executive has shared via his personal LinkedIn account that he’s found a home at the industry’s biggest talent vacuum Tencent. The Chinese-owned entity that has been continually buying up parts of the industry has been acquiring talented developers, publishers, and personnel over the last few years, and Layden is just the latest big hire, joining as Senior Advisor at the corporation.
Sharing the news via LinkedIn, Layden said,
UPDATE: I am delighted to share that I have recently joined #Tencent Games as a strategic advisor. In this new role, I hope to advise, assist, and support the team at Tencent as they deepen their activities and commitments within the industry to which I’ve devoted the majority of my career. We are at an epoch defining moment in gaming and interactive entertainment. There are many possible roads ahead but only a few are profound, broadening, inclusive, edifying, inspiring, and/or sustainable. I am thrilled to continue this journey of discovery and thank Tencent for the opportunity.
Despite having been the President and CEO of PlayStation for only a few years during the PS4 generation, assuming the role in 2014, before departing in 2019, Layden has had a profound impact on the development of the PS5 as well and has been an outspoken figure in the industry in the years since, discussing the costs of development and ways developers and publishers will need to adapt their work to offset those costs. More recently Layden had quite a bit to say about the current initiative that PlayStation is on that’s pursuing that’s resulted in games migrating to PS5.
Layden was a beloved face within PlayStation by fans of the platform but also by key figures in the development scene. One such example is former Bend Studio, and Days Gone Director, Jeff Ross, who claimed that the departure of Layden would ensure that a Days Gone 2 would never exist. On a David Jaffe stream in early 2022, Ross claimed,
It was very obvious that we shouldn’t be talking about Days Gone while we were working on the pitch and generating it. It was clear that it was a non-starter. And there was nothing in the pitch that made the local manager and his boss feel good about it. That’s probably a failure of the creative group, but it was just an uphill battle the whole time.
As soon as Shawn was gone, Days Gone was dead.
Recently Tencent has continued its buying spree, signaling its intent to take on more of Ubisoft, it has acquired Rime developer Tequila Works, and much more. With Layden coming aboard, it’s clear that the entity is keen to consolidate further.