Sony and Microsoft have announced this week they are to team up to “partner on new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct to consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions”.
The companies are going to work together on Cloud gaming solutions with Microsoft Azure at the core of the partnership. Google announced recently their Stadia initiative where they would use their data centres around the world to power streaming services to deliver console quality gaming experiences direct to your device. Microsoft have previously discussed their Project Xcloud which will do something similar and arelikely to reveakl more details at the upcoming E3 showcase event in June.
We haven’t heard much from Sony regarding cloud gaming until now. Unlike Google and Microsoft it was believed Sony didn’t have the infrastructure in place to rival the other companies. This move may come as some surprise as Microsoft and Sony are in direct competition in the console gaming market. However, some strategic partnership does make sense in the face of Google coming into the market as they have deep pockets and a worldwide technology based already installed. It’s likely that Sony will invest significant sums of money into the cloud gaming infrastructure offered by Microsoft perhaps offsetting the cost for Microsoft by allowing them to rent out their hardware much like Amazon do with AWS.
Microsoft appear to be offering their Azure cloud infrastructure with Sony offering their cutting-edge image sensors to develop new AI solutions. Furthermore on AI both companies are looking to explore Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools with Sony’s consumer products to provide highly intuiative and user-friendly AI solutions. This may mean AI coming to other Sony products like TVs and other in-home technology products.
In a press release, the companies say “PlayStation itself came about through the integration of creativity and technology. 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. 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. Additionally, I hope that in the areas of semiconductors and AI, leveraging each company’s cutting-edge technology in a mutually complementary way will lead to the creation of new value for society.”
It’ll be interesting to see where this partnership goes as both are about to release new consoles. Does this mean PS5 will run a cloud-gaming service using Microsoft Azure infrastructure? Is this an indication that both companies are worried about Google entering the market and are willing to team up to fend off the newcomer? Watch this space as this story unfolds in the coming months.