Microsoft and Sony stunned the world when they announced a partnership for cloud gaming. Though details are scarce, it may entail improvements to Sony’s PS Now service and perhaps some of Microsoft’s Azure tech may find its way to the PS5. In an interview with Fortune, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shed light on the company’s approach to cloud gaming as well as its deal with Sony. To him, gaming is now an integral part of the Microsoft’s endeavours thanks to the cloud. Previously he claimed gaming wasn’t at the core of Microsoft.
“I wanted to acknowledge that gaming is an important thing, and instead of trying to draw a direct line to what the rest of the company was doing at that time, we can still love gaming for gaming’s sake,” he said. “Since then, what has changed is the connected tissue of this company, which is the cloud.”
He also stated that the number of companies using Azure as the cloud backend for game development is growing, name-dropping Sony and why the PlayStation maker decided to work with Microsoft.
“It’s a beginning for us. First of all, it’s all driven by Sony. They looked at who are all their partners that they can trust. In fact, it turns out, even though we’ve competed, we’ve also partnered,” he said.
He elaborates on this by stating that Microsoft needs Sony to succeed.
“Basically and fundamentally the fact that we have a business model in the areas that they’re partnering with us, where we’re dependent on their success,” he said. “So we will do the best job for them, whether it’s in cloud or whether it’s in AI or what have you, in order to make sure that Sony can succeed with their own IP creation.”
Finally, Nadella also noted that Microsoft’s Azure tech could have uses beyond gaming for Sony.
“That’s a core piece of the partnership. They also have—beyond gaming—other assets, like interesting devices and silicon (chip) businesses, which could be interesting in the context of what we’re doing in Azure,” he said.
“Overall, if you look at all the parts of these businesses, whether it’s in entertainment, gaming, or the camera businesses, all of these things can use more cloud computing power. But they can also go-to-market with Microsoft in some industrial cases, especially for their things around cameras.”
That said, it will be interesting to see how game developers respond to next-generation consoles with some voicing concerns on the approach taken by Microsoft and Sony.
While either company are yet to reveal release dates or exact specifications for the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett respectively, PlatinumGames boss Atsushi Inaba believes they’re ‘more of the same’.
In a recent interview Inaba stated that the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett mimic existing tech from PCs, just repurposed. Considering that the PS4 and Xbox One share similarities with each other as well as PCs, this should come as no surprise. More so when you consider both the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett will ship with backwards compatibility support.
“It’s OK. And by that I mean, I’m sure that things will move faster, graphics will be better and maybe it will be easier with less wait times… that’s good for the consumer,” he said to Video Games Chronicle. “But it’s more of the same, quite frankly, compared to previous generations. It’s nothing that’s disruptive or super innovative, if you ask me.”
”Game hardware used to be about custom chips that you couldn’t do on PCs. Now you look at it and they’re just grabbing stuff that already exists,” he continued. “The Switch, for example, is a Tegra which already existed and the other consoles are using very similar chips and graphics cards to what you see on PCs, but maybe slightly updated. None of it seems unique to that hardware anymore.”
“It’s hard to get excited about stuff that kind of already exists, but has been repurposed to a certain degree,” he said.