Yoshida Discusses Cloud Gaming On Playstation
Microsoft is currently in the process of undergoing a historic, gargantuan acquisition of Activision. I recently reported on the deal and its controversies at Tech Insight – it’s worth £54.9 billion, and has been approved by the European Commission. Video games are an industry of immutable growth and wealth; concerns over console manufacturer and games publisher Microsoft acquiring one of the industry’s other biggest players circle a potential monopoly of the market, and a refusal to let others play with behemoth properties including Call of Duty, Candy Crush and World of Warcraft. Yet that’s just a fragment of a much larger discussion – now, the leader of the purported opposition has revealed how Microsoft’s stance might affect cloud gaming on PlayStation systems.
Revenue in the video games market is projected to reach £332 billion GBP in 2023.
As reported by the Financial Times, Sony’s chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida has seemingly subdued concerns the PlayStation manufacturer might have regarding Microsoft’s big deal. Whilst Microsoft and Sony are considered to be two key players of “the big three”, that is, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, the two companies have traditionally been considered direct competitors in the industry – it’s a competition fueled by speculative commentators and entrenched console-specific acolytes – yet in 2023, Sony has enjoyed a 44.1% share of the market, compared with Microsoft’s 16%.
The Sony PlayStation 5 has modelled itself as the place to play high-quality, “triple-A” exclusive experiences; Microsoft’s Xbox Series S and X consoles infamously, have experienced a considerable drought in their own titles.
Cloud gaming on PlayStation?
Microsoft, however, isn’t citing a lack of quality exclusive games as its key justification for the acquisition. Instead, Xbox’s boss Phil Spencer has set its sights on cloud gaming, vying to bolster the entire industry with a stronger connected cloud infrastructure. The European Commission recently approved the acquisition, arguing that, it could, “unlock significant benefits for competition and consumers, by bringing Activision’s games to new platforms, including smaller EU players, and to more devices than before.”
But does this focus on cloud gaming close the door on Sony? Yoshida shared with the Financial Times, “I think cloud itself is an amazing business model, but when it comes to games, the technical difficulties are high.” He continued. “So there will be challenges to cloud gaming, but we want to take on those challenges.” These technological obstacles, whilst frustrating across industries, are especially troubling when gaming’s concerned – thanks to advancements in connectivity, we stand at the precipice of a true cloud gaming revolution, but it has the potential to be stymied by latency, lost connections, and a savvy audience’s critical perception if things don’t work they way they should.
In gaming, they often don’t.
Microsoft’s strongarming of the competition and backlash to the acquisition have instead allowed Sony to play a role it doesn’t often get to: that of the underdog. Yoshida opened up about the company’s advancements in harnessing artificial intelligence to boost players’ experiences of playing against the computer in competitive settings, utilising downtime (e.g. during the workday) on servers to boost other elements of gaming.
“The dark time for cloud gaming had been an issue for Microsoft as well as Google,” Yoshida shares, “but it was meaningful that we were able to use those [quieter] hours for AI learning.” Whilst Microsoft’s big plans are making the headlines, it’s telling that its key competition has been surveying the reception and adapting according. Sony’s games are certainly getting played, but the company’s chief executive is striving to guarantee they don’t.
Happy with your consoles the way they are, or do you expect great things from cloud integration? Keep the conversation going in the comments.
Cloud tech is always developing. Find out how, here: Google, Oracle and Uber’s Big Multi-Cloud Move.