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PlayStation Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden has announced that he's parting ways with Sony Interactive Entertainment in a surprise tweet posted by the official company account. Layden, a familiar face to gamers everywhere thanks to his appearances onstage during at high-profile events such as E3 and The Game Awards, has yet to explain the reasons for the departure, nor has a successor been named.
"It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE," the tweet reads. "His visionary leadership will be greatly missed. We wish him success in future endeavors and are deeply grateful for his years of service. Thanks for everything, Shawn!"
It is with great emotion that we announce that Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden will be departing SIE. His visionary leadership will be greatly missed. We wish him success in future endeavors and are deeply grateful for his years of service. Thanks for everything, Shawn!- PlayStation (@PlayStation) September 30, 2019
Layden had been with Sony since 1987, a little over three decades. Starting out in public relations in 87, he worked as an assistant to Sony founder Akio Morita before rising through the ranks, working as a Tokyo-based producer in 1996, eventually landing a role Chief Operating Officer. In 2014, Layden took over from Jack Trenton as President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment until March 2018, when his focus shifted exclusively to Worldwide Studios.
One of Layden's most recent achievements with the company was the purchase of Ratchet & Clank and Marvel's Spider-Man developer Insomniac Games, folding the previously third-party studio into Sony's family of PlayStation exclusive developers.
It's also important to note that Layden oversaw first-party development throughout the majority of the PS4's life, and undoubtedly played a role in the console's incredible run of exclusive single-player games, including Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, and the aforementioned Spider-Man game. While not directly involved with development, all arrived during his tenure.
Perhaps his last major appearance at a public event was also arguably one of his most memorable when, at The Game Awards last December, he took to the stage with Xbox boss Phil Spencer and former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé to share a message of cross-platform unity.
Layden has yet to personally comment on the reasons for his departure on Twitter or LinkedIn, and Sony has yet to give any further details beyond the above tweet. Sony's use of the term "future endeavors" in its initial statement does seem to suggest that Layden isn't simply retiring, as was the case with Fils-Aimé earlier in the year. Whatever's going on, we'll be sure to update you as and when we learn more.
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