Sony, Microsoft Strike a Strategic Partnership on Gaming, AI
The day hath finally arrived! In a press release that came almost out of left field—but is certain to be a home run with the gaming community—Sony and Microsoft announced that they’ve effectively buried the hatchet and will come together to collaborate on new cloud-based solutions for gaming.
In short: Console crossplay is finally happening.
Without a doubt, this announcement is in almost direct response to the introduction of Google Stadia back in March at the Game Developers Conference. There, Google debuted its forward thinking cloud based gaming console that served as the first real threat to the traditional video game market. Stadia, explained simply, is a game streaming service that uses a Google-designed controller to connect wirelessly to a display in order to let the user play video games.
If anyone thought Sony and Microsoft were going to just stand by idly and let Google be the only disruptor, they clearly were sorely mistaken.
In their joint statement, Sony and Microsoft said that they’ve both signed off on a memorandum of understanding, under which, both companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. Further, they’ll look into the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services. (This is the area of the partnership that will enable crossplay to become a reality—and it meshes with Google’s own strategy to use its datacenters to support its cloud-based gaming initiative.)
On the flip side of the partnership, Microsoft and Sony will look for ways to integrate Sony’s image sensors with Microsoft’s AI technology, as well as ways to leverage Sony’s semiconductors and Microsoft’s cloud technology to the benefit of enterprise customers.
“Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation,” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in the statement. “Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers.”
For years, while the companies have competed on the gaming front, consumers have been screaming for the two platforms to allow for crossplay. There’s been plenty of back and forth, and finger-pointing (mainly at Sony) for all of the delays and holdups in making this day a reality. But it’s here now, and that should make gamers the world over thrilled for what the future of this industry could look like.
“Our mission is to seamlessly evolve this platform as one that continues to deliver the best and most immersive entertainment experiences, together with a cloud environment that ensures the best possible experience, anytime, anywhere,” Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said in the statement. “For many years, Microsoft has been a key business partner for us, though of course the two companies have also been competing in some areas. I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content.”
No additional details were available at the time of the announcement, but Sony and Microsoft said that they would continue to provide updates as they become available. With E3 right around the corner, we could hear something soon—but we wouldn’t suggest holding your breath on that one.