Microsoft and Sony have been rivals since the days of the original Xbox and PlayStation 2, but now it appears the companies are putting some of their differences aside. To the shock of the gaming world, Microsoft and Sony have announced that they will be partnering on cloud gaming moving forward.
"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 statement to the press. Both companies are promising more details in the future, but this means that the PS5's rumored game-streaming feature will essentially be powered by its biggest competitor.
This is huge news, and it has major implications for the next-generation consoles. Not only does this mean that rumors about the PS5 and next Xbox heavily focusing on game-streaming are likely true, but it also seems to be the next major step forward to the console-less future predicted by analysts.
We've already seen a glimpse of that future thanks to the Google Stadia. Stadia promises to let gamers play the same games on their phones as they can on their high-end computers, as long as they have the Internet speed to back it up. It's possible that the Google Stadia announcement actually triggered this partnership between Microsoft and Sony, as their combined effort could go a long way in driving back competition from new faces in the gaming scene like Google, though that's just speculation at this time.
Meanwhile, this could be a sign that the so-called "console war" between Microsoft and Sony will not be a focus for the next-generation consoles. Microsoft itself has already started moving away from the console war mentality, bringing Xbox Live to the Switch, and releasing virtually all of its first-party games on PC. While we still expect healthy competition between the two, it seems the industry is evolving past that point.
Unfortunately, further details on this surprising new partnership are unavailable at this time, and we don't know when we will hear more. Perhaps more will come at E3 2019 in June during Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference, but if not, maybe we'll learn more when the next-gen consoles are properly unveiled.