Microsoft and Sony have announced an unlikely alliance, which could herald the dawn of true cross-platform online gaming across Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
In a press release on Thursday, the two gaming giants announced they’re teaming up to build cloud-based solutions within the Microsoft Azure platform.
The accord, which will support gaming and cloud streaming, will see Sony adopt Microsoft’s cloud-based platform for its current gaming and streaming platforms.
The release states: “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.”
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The obvious conclusion here is that Microsoft and Sony are putting the rivalry aside to enable gamers on either of the major platforms to take each other on online without needing to be on the same system.
Sony has come in for criticism in the last year or so for its reluctance to embrace cross platform multiplayer due to its lead in the PS4 vs Xbox One console war, which is approaching its close with the PS4 well ahead.
However, the accord goes beyond the gaming rivalry. The press release says Microsoft and Sony are exploring “collaboration in the areas of semiconductors and AI.” That’ll involve the potential for joint development of new intelligent image sensor solutions.
The companies say: “For semiconductors, this includes potential joint development of new intelligent image sensor solutions. By integrating Sony’s cutting-edge image sensors with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology in a hybrid manner across cloud and edge, as well as solutions that leverage Sony’s semiconductors and Microsoft cloud technology, the companies aim to provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers. In terms of AI, the parties will explore incorporation of Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools in Sony consumer products, to provide highly intuitive and user-friendly AI experiences.”
Sony and Microsoft say they’ll share additional information when the time is right, but the most prevalent concern for gamers is likely to be a ceasing of hostilities and the dawn of true cross-platform gaming.
“Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers.”