Longtime rivals Microsoft and Sony have announced a partnership to “explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content streaming services.”
This deal will see both companies working to improve Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure, and Sony will make use of that platform for their own cloud-based endeavors. By working together, both companies hope to “deliver more enhanced entertainment experiences for their worldwide customers” and create “better development platforms for the content creator community.” The pair will also work together in the development of superconductors and artificial intelligence.
“PlayStation itself came about through the integration of creativity and technology,” said Sony president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. “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 has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation,” added 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.”
So what does this mean for the future of PlayStation and Xbox? Likely nothing too drastic for consumers. This partnership mostly deals with the behind the scenes infrastructure needed to stream content like games. Microsoft Azure is just that: an infrastructure, and Sony utilizing it for their streaming services is similar to the way that the overwhelming majority of PCs run Windows. They’re simply using Microsoft’s platform as a foundation for their services instead of going to another company. While this is definitely the closest collaboration we’ve seen between these two industry giants, don’t expect it to develop much further than this. Halo on PlayStation isn’t happening anytime soon.
Regardless, Azure is a strong platform with data centers all around the globe, and such a strong foundation will surely aid Sony and Microsoft in preparing for the inevitable streaming future. PlayStation Now and Microsoft’s upcoming xCloud service will without a doubt remain competitors, but now we know that both services will utilize the same infrastructure and that both parties involved with do their part in developing and improving the streaming experience.
Love it or hate it, streaming isn’t going anywhere. With PlayStation Now slowly but surely gaining subscribers and the upcoming launches of xCloud and Google Stadia looming over the horizon, streaming video games is no longer a fad. Much like the fledgling VR industry, streaming will start small and slowly work its way toward the mainstream, and partnerships like this are integral in supporting and improving streaming so it can reach an acceptable level of quality. This deal is the first in a long line of developments, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more companies entered partnerships like this one to provide better streaming experiences.
Microsoft and Sony will share more additional information when it is available.