Former PS Exec Shawn Layden Thinks That Game Prices Should Increase

Shawn Layden Game Prices

Former PS executive Shawn Layden is of the opinion that the current development expenses have increased and to reflect the increased development costs, the game prices should be increased as well. He expressed these thoughts while speaking to Gamesbeat’s Dean Takahashi during their Gamelab Live yesterday. This fact was brought up as the general talk switched to the recently released The Last of Us: Part 2.

Shawn Layden has spent over 25 years at Sony and left the company last year in October. He was a prominent figure over at PlayStation throughout the life of PS4. Layden expressed these words while discussing that it took the developer over six years to develop The Last of Us: Part 2 as compared to the original The Last of Us which was completed in just three years. He was of the opinion that if gamers want the same $59.99 price tag then it would be fair for the developers to develop and release shorter games as compared to the current 50 to 60-hour milestone.

He further explained that game development currently costs a developer around $80 to $150 million for an AAA title and the time frame is at least five years from start to finish. With the latest games taking into account technologies such as 4K, HDR art, and creating exceptionally detailed worlds, the production costs have certainly gone way up as compared to previous generations of consoles. He was also of the view that instead of spending five years making an 80-hour game, why not make a 15-hour game in three years.

His official words were:

The problem with that model is it’s just not sustainable. 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 expectation? What is the best way to get our story across, and say what we need to say.

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.

Going into the next generation, not only is that an important role in management… It’s also, perhaps, really evaluating what we can continue to put into games — at what cost can you continue to create these games.

What do you think of Sawn Layden’s point of view about the industry ramping up game prices due to the increase in production costs? Do you think it is fair for the developers to raise the game price beyond the $59.99 mark or do you think that this price is fair enough for most of the gamers around the world? Let us know in the comments section below.


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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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