The cloud is the next frontier which tech giants such as Microsoft, Sony, Google, and Amazon seem to be interested in conquering. Microsoft and Sony even signed a strategic partnership back in 2019, which included the use of Azure, AI solutions, and more for content streaming. The deal caught many by surprise given the firms' rivalry in gaming but nothing tangible has emerged so far.
Now, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has confirmed that Sony is still collaborating with Microsoft, but its cloud strategy will be solely about the PlayStation.
We’re still having conversations with [Microsoft] about exchanging ideas. We’re still talking to them about exchanging ideas, and there’s some very interesting stuff, so when the time is right, we’ll announce our cloud strategy.
We could conceivably use the cloud for our technical infrastructure, but the cloud gaming experience we’re offering will be unique and only on PlayStation.
The statement is vague enough to be open to anyone's interpretation. To us, it seems like Sony will use Microsoft's Azure-based infrastructure for technical tooling, but at the end of the day, the solution will solely be for the benefit of PlayStation gamers rather than a cross-platform audience. Of course, plans like these can change anytime.
When asked about the future of cloud gaming and its potential to disrupt console release cycles, Ryan emphasized that "history shows that sales peak in the third or fourth year. At the end of the cycle, the cloud may play some role." When it came to the question about whether the PlayStation 5 will be the last console from Sony, Ryan understandably did not give a straightforward answer and stated that the company is currently evaluating how gamers are enjoying the console, and only after its own investigation is complete will it be able to "think about the future of PlayStation".
Importantly, Sony did boost its PlayStation Now infrastructure recently with support for 1080p gaming, so the firm is definitely interested in the potential of the cloud. That said, only time will tell whether it is ready to go all-in on its cloud strategy, whatever that may end up being.