Employees in Sony's PlayStation team were apparently blindsided when the company made a surprise announcement of a partnership with Microsoft, a company it's staunchly in competition with for the last few decades.
Announced very recently, this partnership is a bid to help each other as cloud gaming penetrates the industry moving forward. It will involve co-developing game streaming technology and Microsoft hosting some of Sony's online services on the Azure cloud platform. The announcement came after Sony spent seven years developing its own cloud gaming service, with little success.
PlayStation Shocked By Sony And Microsoft Partnership
The employees' alleged reactions were reported by Bloomberg. Negotiations between the two companies began last year and was handled directly by Sony's management in Tokyo, Japan, largely without the involvement or, as it's clear now, knowledge of the PlayStation team, as Bloomberg notes, citing "people familiar with the matter." They were "caught off-guard by the news." Managers even had to calm workers and assure them that Sony's next-generation console weren't affected.
It should perhaps come as no surprise why those employees were shocked. Sony and Microsoft, with their PlayStation and Xbox gaming platforms respectively, have been duking it out in the video game landscape for decades. Although Nintendo is also a fierce competitor, it can be argued that Mario and Zelda games cater to a different niche, which puts it on a unique position on the grand scheme of gaming. Sony and Microsoft, however, are direct competitors: their consoles both have high-tier specs, exclusive games, and an impassioned fanbases. Them working together is startling, to say the least.
But perhaps this partnership says less about Sony and Microsoft's relationship and more about the potential power of cloud gaming to disrupt the industry. Google recently showed off its Stadia cloud gaming service, a play-anything-anywhere-on-anything game streaming platform that could change the entire video game landscape in ways yet unknown. With Stadia, Google hopes to render games platform-agnostic — no need to buy a console just to play a specific game; all one would have to do is whip out their phone and start playing over the cloud.
"Sony feels threatened by [the cloud gaming trend] and the mighty Google, and has decided to leave its network infrastructure build-up to Microsoft," according to Asymmetric Advisors strategist Amir Anvarzadeh. "Why would they sleep with the enemy unless they feel threatened?"
A spokesperson for Sony confirmed that discussions with Microsoft started last year, but didn't provide details beyond that. This is a developing story. Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.