Earlier this year, Google announced it would be launching the Stadia cloud service at some point in 2019: a move that could potentially revolutionise the way we game. Now, in response, Microsoft have announced their own version of cloud-based gaming – and they’ve teamed up with Sony in order to one-up the competition.
This news obviously came as something of a shock to many, as the two tech giants had been rivals for over a decade thanks to Xbox and Playstation. Rather than continue their battle for the top spot, though, and potentially compete with Google in the mix, they’ve set aside their differences.
According to Bloomberg, the decision to collaborate was so hasty that Sony’s Playstation team wasn’t actually informed of the plans ahead of the public announcement. “Staff at the gaming division were caught off-guard by the news,” they said. “Managers had to calm workers and assure them that plans for the company’s next-generation console weren’t affected, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing private matters.”
Sony and Microsoft announced a partnership to focus on improving cloud gaming, AI solutions, and more. pic.twitter.com/g8quTObFdh
— IGN (@IGN) May 17, 2019
Though Sony already had an existing (premium) streaming service with Playstation Now, it’s been announced that the hybrid product will be hosted on Azure, Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform.
“By working together, the companies aim to deliver more enhanced entertainment experiences for their worldwide customers. These efforts will also include building better development platforms for the content creator community,” the companies said in a joint press release.
The new allies also said they would be using their partnership to explore more possibilities around artificial intelligence: “By integrating Sony’s cutting-edge image sensors with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology in a hybrid manner across cloud and edge, as well as solutions that leverage Sony’s semiconductors and Microsoft cloud technology, the companies aim to provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers. In terms of AI, the parties will explore incorporation of Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools in Sony consumer products, to provide highly intuitive and user-friendly AI experiences.”
Kenichiro Yoshida, the president and CEO of Sony, insisted that, “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.” He then went on to add: “I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content.”
It is not yet clear what will happen with Microsoft’s and Sony’s existing ventures with Xbox and Playstation, but – given the scale of this project – it’s obvious that a lot of work will need to be directed towards getting the platform ready for public release.
So, with this alliance now firmly in place, and Google also working hard on making console-free gaming a reality for the masses, there’s really only one question left to ask: how will Nintendo compete?