Sony is working on its own cloud gaming strategy which will be “unique and only on PlayStation,” according to SIE boss Jim Ryan.
Speaking to Nikkei (and translated by VGC), Ryan explained that Sony is in conversations with Microsoft and “exchanging ideas” about cloud gaming and that “when the time is right” Sony will share its cloud gaming 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,” Ryan said.
Ryan is referring Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology that currently powers a huge number of web applications and streaming services. In 2019, Sony and Microsoft have announced a partnership that would see the two companies collaborating on game-streaming technology together.
“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,” Microsoft said in a blog post announcing the partnership two years ago.
“In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services.”
Sony utilizing Microsoft’s cloud gaming knowledge – and servers – means we’ll likely see an Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly called Project xCloud) equivalent on PS5 in the future.
Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft’s cloud gaming service and its beta version was released in November 2019. And later it was released as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription in September 2020.
Xbox Cloud Gaming allows players to stream games to mobile devices so that they can access their game library on the go – paired with Xbox Game Pass. This will allow subscribers to access over 100 games on multitude of devices.
This is done by leveraging Microsoft’s existing data centers across the globe and loading up servers with the component parts of multiple Xbox consoles to run the games streamed directly over the internet to the device of your choice. It’s these servers that the partnership between Sony and Microsoft grants Sony access to, granting the infrastructure to allow PlayStation cloud gaming to become possible.
Regarding cloud gaming could affect the PS5 life cycle or whether Sony develops another PlayStation console in the future, Ryan commented – “It’s hard to answer that question right now, but history shows that sales peak in the third or fourth year. At the end of the cycle, the cloud may play some role. I’m more optimistic about the future than I was a year ago.”
“We have just released PS5, so at this point it’s time to learn how people are enjoying it, and then we’ll take the time to think about the future of PlayStation,” Ryan continued.
Instead of a brand new cloud gaming service, Sony might update its somewhat lackluster PlayStation Now service. For now, we can only speculate about what Sony will bring to the table with its cloud gaming offering.