Today Microsoft has announced a partnership with Sony to collaborate on new cloud-based solutions for gaming experiences and AI solutions. Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are pictured above shaking hands on the deal to make it official. The two megacorporations will work together on innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions. In other words, competition for Google Stadia.
The memorandum of understanding signed by the two CEOs states the Sony and Microsoft will explore joint development in future cloud solution in Microsoft Azure, which was originally released in 2010, but until now never focused on gaming solutions. Sony first announced the PlayStation Now streaming service back in 2014, and since then they have been adding games from their back catalog for fans to enjoy. In 2017 they announced they would start offering PlayStation 4 games on the service as well.
Under this partnership, Sony will explore Microsoft Azure’s datacenter-based solutions for their game and content-streaming services, and by working together they hope to deliver more enhanced entertainment experiences for their worldwide customers, though PlayStation Now so far has only been available in Europe and North America. The deal will also include building better development platforms for the content creator community, which is something Google’s Stadia announcement highlighted.
Beyond the world of gaming, the companies also aim to explore the areas of semiconductors and AI, which could lead to more intelligent image sensor solutions. They aim to provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers by integrating Sony’s image sensors with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology in a kind of hybrid technology. Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida had a comprehensive prepared statement on the partnership:
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. 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.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was more concise in his statement but equally enthused about the alliance.
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.
Both companies plan to share more about their collaborative efforts in the near future, and we’ll report as soon as more information becomes available.
What do you think of this supergroup partnership? Can Sony and Microsoft come up with a good alternative for Google Stadia? Do you think this is the end of the console wars? Let us know in the comments below!