Microsoft and Sony get together in the cloud

Wednesday, 29 May, 2019

Despite being competing rivals, Microsoft and Sony have announced a ‘strategic partnership’ – sharing services and platforms to improve both. Through the deal Sony will piggyback on Microsoft’s cloud technology to stream games and media.

The key to the new era of collaboration will be Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology that currently powers a huge number of web applications and streaming services.

While the deal is in its early stages it means that eventually Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation would collaborate to stream games and content to consumers and offer game makers new development tools.

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.

- Kenichiro Yoshida: CEO, Sony

This deal’s announcement certainly aided Microsoft to hit the one trillion market value last month and was seen as a strategic move to counter the cloud market leader Amazon’s Web Services.

And to their chagrin, Amazon has also moved into the gaming market. They now offer game makers new tools and they recently purchased Twitch, a major platform and destination for gamers to watch the growing e-sports market.

For Sony the deal means it gains the important assistance in developing new technology for its cloud gaming service PlayStation Now. PS Now is currently the largest cloud gaming operator with a 36% share of the $387 million global cloud market. However, it is vulnerable when it came to infrastructure and service delivery. An area that Microsoft is miles ahead of its rival.

Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history and innovation.

- Satya Nadella: CEO, Microsoft

But behind the move looms Google’s Stadia. Google recently announced it would be moving into gaming hardware as well as the game-streaming arena. For Sony’s PS Now the worry is that Stadia will overtake them and so to compete Sony needs a partnership.

As a part of the new love-in the two telecoms giants would also work together to develop new image sensors that uses Microsoft’s AI technology. And they will also collaborate on AI developments and new semiconductors that are used in enterprise business solutions.

This does not mean however, that the two rivals will collaborate on games or on hardware. Both will continue to develop their PlayStation 5 and Xbox 2 separately. The difference is that both could be using the same server infrastructure for their respective game-streaming services.

Image: Jeff Kubina

Tim Bamford author picture


Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.