We were all surprised last week when heads at Microsoft and Sony came together to jointly announce that the two companies would be working together on future game streaming technology and services. It turns out, the announcement may have also caught the PlayStation team off-guard too, who weren’t clued in on the talks.
According to sources speaking with Bloomberg, Microsoft and Sony first began negotiations in 2018, but it was all handled by Sony’s senior management team in Tokyo, with the PlayStation team having little to no involvement. This caused some concern amongst the PlayStation team, who later had to be assured that Sony’s next-gen console plans remain unchanged.
Sony isn’t the only major games console creator that might be teaming up with Microsoft though. Rumours are beginning to indicate that Nintendo might be next in line to develop its own cloud streaming service for the Switch based on Microsoft Azure.
While cloud gaming is unlikely to completely dethrone traditional consoles in the next five years, the outlook could be very different as we approach 2030. Building and running a global datacentre infrastructure is no cheap or easy task. If you wanted to compete with the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon, it would cost billions of dollars a year in investment to keep running, which doesn’t consider the pay-out required to get the hardware in the first place.
Amazon and Google are already preparing their own competing cloud gaming services. With that in mind, it looks like Sony is choosing to use Microsoft Azure which is the second biggest cloud/datacentre platform in the world. Nintendo could also join the fray, which would put all three major console makers on a unified platform.
KitGuru Says: Prior to the PS4’s launch, Sony was in huge financial trouble. In many ways, the PlayStation team was the saving grace for the entire company. However, the long-term effect now seems to be that Sony didn’t have the resources to build up its own infrastructure to better prepare for the cloud gaming future, which is being ushered in sooner than expected by companies with deeper pockets, like Google.