What just happened? Microsoft and Sony have been locked in a bitter console gaming rivalry for years now. Every console generation, both companies desperately try to one-up each other with upgraded hardware, better services (like Xbox's Game Pass), and unique exclusive games. With this longstanding corporate feud in mind, it may come as a surprise to hear that the two companies today announced a "strategic partnership."
This partnership will see both Sony and Microsoft work together on "new innovations" in the fields of cloud-based gaming and artificial intelligence.
It's tough to say precisely what this agreement might entail moving forward from a consumer perspective, but Sony and Microsoft claim their efforts will include "building better development platforms" for content creators of all stripes, and the development of "intelligent image sensor solutions" for enterprise customers.
"...the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services,"
The backbone of this partnership seems to be Microsoft's Azure cloud computing service. "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's announcement reads. "In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services."
In short, it sounds like Microsoft and Sony are agreeing to a rare intelligence and resource-sharing deal. Only time will tell what form that partnership will take in the long-run (the entire announcement is quite vague regarding specifics), but we'll certainly keep you updated if any new information comes to light.