As Google and Apple are gearing up to launch game services, Sony and Microsoft have announced plans for joint development of game and content-streaming solutions.
A new reality for console gaming
The announcement came in a joint press release late last week and was a surprise even to employees of Sony's PlayStation division, according to Bloomberg.
The two companies are arch rivals in the console gaming space with their PlayStation and Xbox initiatives. Traditionally, competing in the living room gaming segment has involved consoles and physical discs but many see streaming technology and apps as the future.
- "...the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services," the press release said.
The press release is quite vague but the two companies said that they "will share additional information when available". Still, the announcement comes just two months after Google announced its intentions to enter the gaming market with its Stadia game streaming service, and its intentions to establish a game studio. Apple has also announced the Apple Arcade game service.
These events appear to have brought the two rivals together. Sony operates the PlayStation Now game streaming service while Microsoft has announced that it will launch its xCloud game streaming service sometime in the near future. The two companies will now explore joint development of game streaming technology, and Sony may transition its PlayStation Now service to Microsoft's Azure datacenters.
- "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," said Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony
- "Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers."
In addition to joint development of game streaming, the two companies will "also explore collaboration in the areas of semiconductors and AI". Sony and Microsoft are expected to launch new game consoles in the second half of 2020.