This week commences the latest DICE Summit, an annual gathering of games industry elite in sleazy Las Vegas, Nevada. To kick off the week of networking and roundtables, Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden opened today's full day of talks.
"Gamers don't grow out of gaming anymore," Layden told the crowd at DICE Summit 2019, giving the opening keynote for the day. "We embrace gaming as the artform of our generation." Despite the PlayStation 4 being a success this generation, it wasn't always that way.
"PlayStation 3 was our Icarus moment," said Layden. "The fall was sharp. We hadn't listened to our customers." While the downfall was well-publicized, Layden noted that Sony's efforts to remedy its issues weren't. Sony, as a company, changed how it worked; its efforts doubled to develop games, partnerships were strengthened for the next generation, and eventually it created the PS4, a "console for developers as much as it was for fans."
Three pillars Layden credits as guiding PlayStation are quality above all ("if it takes more time, we have to give it more time"), an emphasis on new IPs, and that it can't predict how people will play, but players will find a way. Experimenting, even if it ends in failure, Layden also cited as key to any developer's eventual success.
The theme of this year's DICE Summit 2019 is "trailblazers," spotlighting the creators who have tugged the industry in new directions. Rockstar, Mojang, Epic Games, and Nintendo were among those Layden highlighted. "As I said before, never underestimate Nintendo," he said, noting when the future of Nintendo in the hardware business was in question, adding that "all of us are better for their efforts."
Making gaming more accessible for all has been a key point this generation, Layden also highlighted. From Naughty Dog implementing some of the earliest accessibility options, to Microsoft's new Xbox Adaptive Controller, gaming is able to reach more players than it ever has before. "All are welcome here."
Concluding the talk, Layden elaborated that now that developers are looking onward to the next generation, to hold onto seedlings of innovative ideas, even if they are risky. "As developers, we really don't compete against one another, we all craft art," said Layden. "And art is founded on the creative, not the competitive."
Header image courtesy of Zebra Partners