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Ex-Sony Boss Shawn Layden Says Games Should Be Classified By How They "Make You Feel"




I'm thinking additional descriptions might be helpful; I mean its always going to be a very blunt instrument without going into excessive detail but I think something more experiential might be useful.

Imagine a sort of equivalent to emotes that give a bit of shading to what's on offer when a generic description based on form and genre doesn't quite cut it.

I guess a good example is the difference between say Uncharted and Last Of Us. Gameplay and presentation are broadly similar despite them being tonally poles apart. Light and Breezy versus Dark and Intense in that example
. Maybe an indication of pacing and expected time demands would be useful also?

My reading is that what Layden is getting at is the way games are sold more like appliances than entertainments kinda stands against them being given their fair due as cultural artefacts. Although I guess the more pressing matter is allowing people to more easily pick titles that they will be pleased with and meet their expectations/requirements.
Why doesn't boxart fit that description?
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Understandable when your company makes interactive movies instead of games.

Yeah Bloodborne, Horizon, Demon Souls, Shadow of the Colossus, Returnal, Ratchet & Clank, Spiderman and God of War are such interactive movies :messenger_smirking:

Until Dawn is like an interactive movie.

Games have had cgi and cutscenes since the early days, its not Playstations fault there presentation, animations, voice acting is way above anyone else in the industry not called Rockstar.

Something like Ghost of Tsushima is no less than a game from Assassins Creed or Tomb Raider, its just way better.
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Doesnt need recognition
It's almost futile to classify an experience such as a videogames, but also music, movies and books under a single, general description. I like to pretend what's he's going for and yes, our current way of classification is outdated.


Good Lord! Can we go back in time and make thigs right again? Somewhere in time mankind lost themselves.


Someone needs to tell Shawn that reaction to artistic creation is purely subjective.

I found The Last of Us (1 + 2) and Life is Strange (1) some of the most emotional games I've ever played.

Others hated them and felt nothing.

So, how do you classify those?!

Astral Dog

yeah I've been saying this for the longest. the terms "video game", "boss", "level" are outdated, I see people criticize Arkham Knight for not having boss fights, final bosses levels etc., and many other games the same, those people don't get the point of those games, games are not living and dying by bosses anymore, they are living breathing worlds now, you're stuck in the past with a dead mentality

for me, I call them Interactive Experiences, and I don't give a fuck about bosses in games and stuff like that

I think titles like God Of War are held back by old school outdated mechanics like retrying, dying, health, it should be a seamless experience even more than it is with the one cut camera

that's the point, the gaming industry is above toys are fucking us dead stores, so we need better presentation
nobody is going to kids stores to buy games anymore, you just go to the playstation store, digital has almost taken over
but i love epic boss battles on my videogames 🎮
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I agree.

The genres used today are too confusing… I mean what the difference in games rated Action and Adventure?

Is Zelda action? Adventure? RPG? Fantasy? Etc etc etc.
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I think it is pointless to try to classify games at least those that present novel experiences, I loved what remains of Edith Finch, and i really do not care for the genre it has been classified. It was an awesome experience and i enjoyed it a lot. I truly enjoy games that make you feel something or provoke emotions out of me. That is why i keep playing games and watching movies. That does this.

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I get where he's coming from, but it's impossible to implement a universal standard on interpreting how a game will make a player feel. Two players can play the same game and react to it emotionally in completely different ways.


It's not about what you're pressing, but more about what you're feeling.

Video games being described by common genre tropes or core mechanics is holding the industry back, believes Shawn Layden. Former Sony Interactive Entertainment America CEO thinks it’s better to classify games by how they actually make you feel rather than by the buttons you press.

“One of the blockers we have in the video game business is that we continue to describe our content by its core mechanic. That’s a shooting game. That’s a racing game,” explains Layden. The far better approach, in his opinion, might be just to tell the audience what exact emotions this or that game will offer to you.

Layden’s point is that some projects will lighten your day or make you laugh, whereas some will make you feel a bit more grim, like The Last of Us Part 2. While stories like those found in Spider-Man: Miles Morales may make us feel a bit more hopeful/

“We need to begin to describe our titles, our intellectual property, our creative output, more in the context of how it’s going to make you feel,” the ex-Sony boss says. However, Layden does not propose completely abandoning the usual genre classifications for games. He just notes that it does not necessarily have to be limited to boundaries drawn by gameplay mechanics. “We need to look at it more holistically rather than just the execution of a button press.”

Recently, Shawn Layde also shared his thoughts on gaming subscription services like Xbox Game Pass in a world of ever-growing video game development costs. He believes the approach is simply unsustainable for blockbuster releases — the main drivers of PlayStation Studios today.
I really, really, HATE the assumption that videogames are basically just a new medium for storytelling.

Shooting game. Racing game. I think it's OK for games to just be that. No problem.
Instead it needs to be described in the context of storytelling. The gameplay in Miles Morales will make you feel different than what the story narrative would.

I honestly don't think there are many game developers out there who are actually even that good at story telling.
There are some, yes, but for the most part people are looking for a game to play not a half baked story to experience.

Those Spider-man games are good example of where you could spend many hours getting as close as you can to 100% in eaxch area before having the game take control for the final few moments of the story. So I am putting 40 hours into a game to get 90 minutes of pretty OK story mixed in there somewhere and the game publisher really thinks that it's the snippets of story that are important.

Too much emphasis on story. The Last of Us 2 is just a really expensive and really, really, drawn out straight to DVD movie.


Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
I play games to have fun; to be challenged.. to distract myself from the voices in my head.

If I want a story I'd much rather watch a movie or a TV show.


He is completely right. This is how you classify art, music, paintings, or movies. What really matters is your emotional response to whatever feedback you get from the game. He is 100% right. Genres, stories, or various forms of gameplay mechanics are just how we classify things. But what truly matters is your reaction to the interactive interaction which is completely indifferent to what the game is actually doing.

Just like you can measure and compare all food by taste, you can compare all art by cognitive feedback.
It's almost futile to classify an experience such as a videogames, but also music, movies and books under a single, general description. I like to pretend what's he's going for and yes, our current way of classification is outdated.

can we please keep it clean in here, my cats read this forum.
Clearly he's fixing her dislocated shoulder. Your cats are safe.

Get ya head out the gutter 😂
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fine, it's my fault, again. but that pic hurts the family-friendly image of Gaf. i did a quick Google search for similar images and found this, much less triggering and my cats love it:

so please, thinks about my cats for once, ok?
Haha all good. Sorry If you mean your kids. I love to joke around on the forum and sometimes I can take it too far. Have a good one

Ryu Kaiba

I think he's onto something but he presented it badly. Some games are played for their stories, their worlds. and just like movies, those things should be part of its classification.
Shooter, Drama - the last of us
Comedy RPG - south park
Sort of like that.

Kagey K

I was just thinking by GAF terms they will all end up in the shit pile.

It will be hard lined by💩and every game will be under it.

That ought to sort the haters out.
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