Under the strategic partnership, the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions that will benefit their respective game and content streaming services, xCloud and PlayStation Now. They are also looking into using current Microsoft Azure data centers for Sony’s streaming services, as well as building better development platforms for content creators.
While PlayStation Now has been around since 2014, Microsoft is currently working on its xCloud service. It officially revealed it was working on the technology at E3 2018. It reportedly supports gameplay with an Xbox Wireless Controller via Bluetooth or touch input.
Additionally, Sony and Microsoft said they will collaborate on semiconductors and artificial intelligence. This means Sony’s image sensors could be combined with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology, or Microsoft’s AI platform and tools could find their way into Sony consumer products in the future.
“Sony is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. We collaborate closely with a multitude of content creators that capture the imagination of people around the world, and through our cutting-edge technology, we provide the tools to bring their dreams and vision to reality,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony. “PlayStation itself came about through the integration of creativity and technology. 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. 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.”
Going forward, the two companies said they will share additional information when available.
The move seems to be part of a burgeoning era of cooperation between the three biggest game publishers. During this year’s DICE Summit in Las Vegas, PlayStation’s Shawn Layden heaped praise on his competitors and called for unity among game makers. Earlier that same month, Microsoft revealed it’s releasing a software development kit that will allow developers to integrate its Xbox Live service into titles across multiple platforms, including the Nintendo Switch.