Sony and Microsoft have signed a partnership to jointly develop cloud and AI services, apparently in an effort to counter Google’s recently announced Stadia game-streaming platform.
Announcing the move – by two companies which previously were categorised as rivals – on Microsoft’s website, the platform-holders said: “Sony Corporation (Sony) and Microsoft Corp. (Microsoft) announced on Thursday that the two companies will partner on new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions.
“Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties, the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services. 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.”
Sony president and CEO Kenishiro Yoshida said: “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.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella added: “Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation. Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers.”
This apparent burying of the hatchet between the two rival console manufacturers makes more sense than it might initially appear to: with the PlayStation 4, Sony moved from its own proprietary architecture to PC architecture similar to that which underpins the Xbox One, a trend which it has already revealed it will continue with the next PlayStation.