The former CEO of PlayStation believes that the industry has a serious problem with today’s AAA games. He proposes making them shorter and reducing photorealism-PlayStation 4

The former CEO of PlayStation believes that the industry has a serious problem with today’s AAA games. He proposes making them shorter and reducing photorealism-PlayStation 4
The former CEO of PlayStation believes that the industry has a serious problem with today’s AAA games. He proposes making them shorter and reducing photorealism-PlayStation 4

Should we keep making games that most people don’t get to see?” asks Shawn Layden

You’ve probably been hearing for several months that the video game industry is in crisis, and one of the reasons is because the AAA model is not sustainable due to high production costs and the endless development cycles. We can give many examples of titles that have been simmering for many years, but the most popular of 2024 is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League whose project began in 2016, was released eight years later and was a multimillion-dollar failure for Warner Bros.

This is a delicate situation for many developers and editors, but Shawn Layden has some solutions so that the AAA model is sustainable and the risk of multi-million dollar losses is reduced. The one who was PlayStation CEO For several years he usually talks about video games from time to time, yesterday we published that he himself is against the platform war, although this time he has gone deeper into this topic.

Layden reflects in an interview with GamesIndustry about the current state of the industry, and begins by talking about blockbusters. “Blockbusters reach between 150 and 250 million dollarswhich represents a huge burden for the game development business model and for publishers,” he says. He then explains what the first suggestion is for developers, and basically it is reduce the duration of titles.

We must make shorter and less photorealistic games

If you are one of those players who really wants to play video games, but has little time, then you may agree with Shawn Layden. “We live in a world where only 32% of players finish the game, so we’re making a ton of games that 68% of people don’t see. So should we continue creating games that most people don’t get to see?”, he asks.

In the end the key to reducing the cost of degrees is this: “If you can make your games in a shorter period, that will reduce your cost. You will reach the market sooner, you will be able to please your customers sooner instead of always telling them to wait 45 years for your next work,” he explains. “In the PS1, 2 and 3 generations, duration was the main evaluation criterion. we continued judging games based on gameplay that they offered. And it may have been a decent metric back when the average gamer was in his teens or early twenties, meaning has a lot of time and little moneyso having to sit for that long to play through a huge RPG seemed reasonable,” he says.

Now times have changed and “the average age of players is approaching 30, meaning they have more money and less time. For sit down to play to Red Dead Redemption 2 and have a good time, you have to have free time“.

Shawn Layden believes that approach photorealism as development costs increase it is an option that dont have much sense. “We have talked about the visual quality of games, graphic quality, resolution, the almost photorealism that so many games seem to pursue. And our fans thought it was a noble journey, and we saw the difference between the PlayStation 1 graphics, where Lara Croft is 800 polygons and if you squint at her, she looks like a person. And now we come to the highly realized modeling. But, Did it improve the gameplay? Did it improve the story?“, questions the Sony manager.

“So instead of chasing that, let’s get back to exciting game design“, he suggests. In this question of great graphics we must add an important factor, that of the console war. “The console war began as a missile race. Each side was trying to push the limits of technology. People talked all the time teraflop time without really understanding what it meant. But we’ve reached a point where ray tracing is advanced and most platforms can do 60 images per secondsome 120, which the eye cannot register anyway,” he maintains.

Layden believes “we’re at the edge of that universe, and maybe that’s not where the emphasis should be, so let’s go back to…What can I do to make it fun, entertaining and interactive? so that someone wants to spend their money and time, and enjoy themselves in a way that means they get value for their money, and we can continue paying at least decent wages or better than the people who make them?” he asks.

Another piece of advice is automation tools, which saves time and money. “The way we make games hasn’t changed in 40 years. When the game gets more complex, either we have to do heavier work, or we need more artistic resources… We have to make it the machine does more work. We have to get technology to do more of the heavy lifting, create the tools and engines that can help,” he says, giving the example of No Man’s Sky with its thousands of planets.

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