The Current AAA Game Model Is ‘Just Not Sustainable’ – Former PlayStation Executive

By Zuhaad Ali

Earlier today, a former PlayStation executive, Shawn Layden, was speaking to Gamesbeat’s Dean Takahashi where he revealed his thoughts about the current AAA video game model that is established in the games industry. Layden was appointed as the CEO of SIE in 2014 and in October 2019, PlayStation announced the Shawn Layden is stepping down from the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, after five years.

Current AAA Game Model Not Sustainable

“The problem with that model is it’s just not sustainable,” he said. “The problem with that model is it’s just not sustainable. Major triple-A games in the current generation go anywhere from $80 million to $150 million or more to build, and that’s before marketing. It’s a huge up-front cost.”

“I don’t think that, in the next generation, you can take those numbers and multiply them by two and think that you can grow. I think the industry as a whole needs to sit back and go, ‘Alright, what are we building? What’s the audience’s expectation? What is the best way to get our story across, and say what we need to say?’ he continued.

“It’s hard for every adventure game to shoot for the 50 to 60-hour gameplay milestone because that’s gonna be so much more expensive to achieve. And in the end, you may close some interesting creators and their stories out of the market if that’s the kind of threshold they have to meet… We have to reevaluate that.”

“Instead of spending five years making an 80-hour game, what do three years and a 15-hour game look like?” Layden continued. “[AAA game development] won’t be less expensive than the current generation of game development. 4K, HDR art, and creating worlds don’t come cheap.”

“Personally, as an older gamer… I would welcome a return to the 12 to 15 hour [AAA] game. I would finish more games, first of all, and just like a well-edited piece of literature or a movie, looking at the discipline around that could give us tighter, more compelling content.”

Sony unveiled their next-gen console, PlayStation 5, earlier this month during the Future of Gaming reveal stream. We got a lot of new game announcements during the event. Some of the PS5 exclusives include Spider-Man Miles Morales, Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, etc.

If you’re looking for PlayStation news, rumors, leaks, and guides, then make sure to check out our PlayStation Archive which covers everything related to PlayStation.

PlayStation 4 was officially released on November 15, 2013, in the United States and Canada. PlayStation 5 release date is expected in the holidays of 2020.