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Ex PlayStation executive Shawn Layden joins Tencent Games as strategic advisor

September 20, 2022 7:45 pm

Shawn Layden, a longtime veteran of the gaming industry who joined Sony in 1987and left in 2019, announced on LinkedIn on Monday that he has recently joined Tencent Games as a strategic advisor, and will help the Chinese conglomerate “deepen their activities and commitments within the industry.”

Layden has served many important roles at Sony, including the chairman of Worldwide Studios at PlayStation and president and CEO of PlayStation’s American operation. Outside of the U.S., Layden also has experience working in Japan and Europe. Under his leadership, PlayStation rolled out several top-rated titles, including God of War, Spider-Man, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. 

His abrupt departure from Sony came as a surprise for many at the time. It was speculated by many that his stepping down was the result of an internal power struggle. However, in September 2021, Layden told Bloomberg that it was due to his exhaustion.

" It's a young person's activity. I felt: This is a good time to put the pin in my legacy,” said Layden at the time, who believed he took the chance to “step off on top and allow another generation to take the PlayStation 5 to market.”

Tencent would largely benefit from Layden’s experiences in international markets, as well as his expertise in launching hit titles. The Chinese internet conglomerate has been branching out its gaming business to explore oversea markets, as the gaming industry sullens in China. 

However, gamers and netizens in China are not exactly thrilled by the news. According to discussion and top comments on Chines social media Weibo, many believe bringing Layden on board would not improve the quality of Tencent games when the company has been repeatedly bashed for being addictive, monetizing off of the young, and allegedly plagiarizing. 

Tencent is currently the world’s largest video game company by revenue, yet has suffered a 15-month drought of game licenses which just ended this month.  The company published internationally acclaimed titles such as Honour of Kings and PUBG Mobile and holds stake in Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Krafton, PlatinumGames, and Marvelous Inc.