Earlier this month, Microsoft held the Microsoft Build conference, where they introduced the new changes to Microsoft Azure. Now the tech giant has another surprise for us. The company is entering into an unusual partnership with Xbox’s competitor, the creators of PlayStation. The aim is the two companies to combine their efforts in developing future cloud gaming solutions. In addition, they will employ Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. Microsoft’s press release presents the surprising partnership as “memorandum of understanding”, which leads to the assumption that the two companies are burying the hatchet.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida elaborated on the partnership with:
“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.”
According to Microsoft, the two companies will work together on more than just clouds. In addition, Microsoft also offered its Azure data centers to Sony. In this way permitting Sony to expand on its existing streaming service, PlayStation Now, into something comparable to Google Stadia. Yet, it is not clear what Microsoft gains from teaming up with Sony. However, commentators speculate that Microsoft is just glad that Sony didn’t collaborate with Azure‘s competitors.
The two companies are clearly reading the writing on the wall. However, other rivals like Google and Amazon are also entering into could gaming. What’s more, they are going to put all efforts to persuade the world that it’s the “next big thing.” However, the partnership between Microsoft and Sony is a huge win in the gaming battle. In this way, they are joining efforts against Microsoft’s main cloud rival Amazon and also blocking Google’s access to Sony’s cloud services.
Let the rivalry begin…
As both Sony and Microsoft have new consoles on the way, it’s unlikely that they will dedicate completely to that strategy. What this partnership points towards is that the two companies are moving more into cloud gaming and a “console-less” future.
Typically, a change of strategy from hardware to software is based on the competitor’s ability to steal market shares. It will, therefore, be interesting to follow how Amazon’s streaming service and Google’s Stadia will perform in the near future. At least both Microsoft and Sony now has the partnership ready to respond quickly.