Shawn Layden, the former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s U.S. division and chairman of Worldwide Studios, announced on his LinkedIn account on September 20 that he has joined Tencent Games as a strategic advisor.
Layden joined Sony’s corporate communications department in 1987 in Tokyo, Japan, and served as the Communications Assistant for Sony co-founder Akio Morita for several years. He became Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Europe division in 1999 and President of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Japan division in 2007. In 2010, he was one of the founding members of Sony Network Entertainment International, serving as its Executive Vice President and COO.
In April 2014, Layden succeeded Jack Tretton as President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Amercian division. In 2018, Layden’s role shifted to focus solely on Worldwide Studios. Sony announced on September 30, 2019 that Layden was stepping down from his role as CEO of Worldwide Studios.
Established in 2003, Tencent Games, one of China’s leading gaming companies, owns two flagship games: Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile. On the evening of September 13, China’s National Press and Publication Administration announced a new batch of approval numbers authorizing the release of new online games in the country. The “Health Defense” of Nanjing Wangdian Technology Co., Ltd. has also been approved. The company is wholly-owned by a subsidiary of Tencent.
Tencent‘s recent moves in overseas markets have attracted significant attention. In just eight days, Tencent has increased its holdings in two well-known overseas well-known game companies, From Software, a unit of Japanese-listed Kadokawa Group, and Ubisoft, a French game developer.
Several game industry analysts said that Tencent‘s move is aimed at least two main purposes. The first is to enable itself to better participate in overseas market competition, improve its ability to develop 3A grade works, as well as to lay the foundation for the metaverse. The second is to introduce well-known IP to the domestic market as new revenue growth points. Classic titles like Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed are also expected to enter the Chinese market.
Tencent Games launched its international brand, Level Infinite, in December last year, which is responsible for its own and third-party game publishing. It is headquartered in Amsterdam and Singapore and has more than 1,000 employees worldwide. Since the first half of this year, Level Infinite has released a series of console games such as Dune: Spice Wars overseas, set up an office in Brazil in June, and officially launched the international edition of Tower of Fantasy overseas in August, all of which means that Tencent Games’s exploration in overseas markets is accelerating.
However, Tencent Games in the overseas market does not have the high advantage like in the domestic market. It is still in an all-round fierce competition with game manufacturers such as Lilith Games, miHoYo, NetEase, and 37 Interactive Entertainment.