Report: Microsoft And Sony's Cloud Gaming Collaboration Caught The PlayStation Team By Surprise

Illustration for article titled Report: Microsoft And Sonys Cloud Gaming Collaboration Caught The PlayStation Team By Surprise
Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty)

It was a surprise to say the least last week when news broke of a vague agreement between Microsoft and Sony—normally arch rivals in the console gaming space—to team up on “new cloud-based solutions for gaming experiences”. If you think you were shocked, though, spare a thought for the PlayStation team.

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According to this Bloomberg report on the partnership, which cites “people familiar with the matter”, the early stages of the deal “began last year and were handled directly by Sony’s senior management in Tokyo, largely without the involvement of the PlayStation unit.”

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This means that when the collaboration was announced publicly last week, most of Sony’s own console gaming team would have been hearing about it the same time you or I did. Understandably this freaked some folks out, the report claiming “Managers had to calm workers and assure them that plans for the company’s next-generation console weren’t affected”.

None of this is news in so much as it affects either of the programs involved, the PS5 or whatever this cloud gaming idea is, but it’s still interesting to see just how big and unwieldy a massive corporation like Sony can be, when most of its own gaming division isn’t reportedly aware of plans that would directly impact its work.

Unless, of course, not informing them—allowing the partnership to remain a secret while under negotiation—was entirely the point.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

I’m still trying to figure out why sony would do this. For microsoft it makes perfect sense. If the rumours about nintendo are true, Msoft will be providing cloud services for the entire console space. And Msoft has a long history of propping up businesses to serve as firewalls against things they see as a potential threat. hell, the xbox only exists because they were afraid of the PS2 helping increase linux penetration. So i get why they would be willing to help sony prop up their streaming service. It runs counter to google, especially in markets where the xbox does not have reach yet, and they get paid no matter what. As long as google loses, microsoft wins, even if sony is the one doing the punching.

So why would sony hand someone who is a direct competitor an effective monopoly like that? If anything, a deal with google would have made more sense. Sony has the foothold in the gaming space and google has the technical acumen and raw muscle....but neither directly compete with each other. Nintendo and Msoft don’t really directly compete for the same markets so coexistence for them is far more easy. Sony is straight up funnelling money to their competition, while also becoming partially reliant on them.

It’s obvious that Msoft and Sony are taking stadia/amazon gaming/disney gaming/cbsall access gaming seriously as potential threats (far more seriously than i think they deserve. Microsoft knows better than anyone how gamers respond to even the idea of always online gaming). But a bunch of this doesn’t make sense on the face of it.