"I see consolidation to be the enemy of creativity," says former PlayStation chief Shawn Layden, as Jim Ryan says he was "thrilled" to sign Microsoft's Call of Duty deal

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Former PlayStation boss Shawn Layden says he sees "consolidation to be the enemy of creativity," as the company's outgoing boss Jim Ryan shares his enthusiasm for Microsoft's Call of Duty deal with PlayStation.

In the run-up to Microsoft's $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard and, with it, the Call of Duty franchise, Sony was, as you might expect, more than a little vocal about the deal being bad for business. But PlayStation boss Jim Ryan, who's retiring this month after 30 years with Sony, says he's "thrilled" to have secured a deal that will see Call of Duty released on PlayStation systems for the next 10 years.

"The reason that we felt this one was different to anything that had happened in the past was the sheer size and importance of the Call of Duty franchise," Ryan tells CNBC, asked what made the Activision deal uniquely damaging. "So we were absolutely thrilled to be able to negotiate a deal with Microsoft to ensure that that franchise remains available on PlayStation platforms for the next ten years. And that was very important to us, and we're very happy to have done that deal."

Despite the enthusiasm for it now, Sony initially rejected Microsoft's 10-year Call of Duty deal, something which Ryan was also quizzed on.

"We're at risk of getting granular here," Ryan replies, "but there are deals in deals. And, you know, the deal that was offered at a certain point in time may not have been the deal that was actually signed."

While keeping Call of Duty in the hands of PlayStation fans is certainly something of a win for PlayStation, Layden, formerly CEO of SIE Worldwide Studios, is less than keen on the idea of big companies like Microsoft buying up the competition.

"I see the consolidation in the industry," Layden says. "I see people like Microsoft, Embracer, or some group out of Saudi Arabia buying up a bunch of studios, and I see consolidation to be the enemy of creativity. If we've commoditized the product, you're just going to get more of the same."

Of course, Sony itself is no stranger to acquisitions, having in recent years bought up prominent studios like Ratchet and Clank and Marvel's Spider-Man developer Insomniac Games, and Bungie, the creator of Halo and Destiny. The company has also bought Haven Studios, headed up by Assassin's Creed veteran Jade Raymond, and last year, it snagged Firewalk Studios to work on an "original AAA multiplayer game for PlayStation."

Check out our guide to upcoming PS5 games for all the biggest and best titles making their way to Sony's later console in 2024 and beyond.

Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.