Microsoft and Sony team up on cloud-based gaming

Sony CEO and President Kenichiro Yoshida (left) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shake hands. (Microsoft)(Microsoft/Sony)

In a seemingly surprise move, rivals Microsoft and Sony announced on Thursday they are teaming up on cloud-based gaming and AI solutions. 

Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PS4 gaming platforms weren't specifically mentioned as being part of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) the two companies signed. Microsoft and Sony will work together on joint development of future cloud solutions on Microsoft Azure to support gaming and content-streaming services.

They will also explore the current use of Azure's data center-based solutions for Sony's gaming and content streaming services. The two gaming giants also said they would build better development platforms for the content creator community.

"For many years, Microsoft has been a key business partner for us, though of course the two companies have also been competing in some areas," said Sony CEO and President Kenichiro Yoshida, in a statement. "I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content. Additionally, I hope that in the areas of semiconductors and AI, leveraging each company’s cutting-edge technology in a mutually complementary way will lead to the creation of new value for society.”

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The MOU also includes collaboration across areas such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence, which could include joint development of new intelligent image sensor solutions.

"By integrating Sony’s cutting-edge image sensors with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology in a hybrid manner across cloud and edge, as well as solutions that leverage Sony’s semiconductors and Microsoft cloud technology, the companies aim to provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers," the press release stated. "In terms of AI, the parties will explore incorporation of Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools in Sony consumer products, to provide highly intuitive and user-friendly AI experiences."