Microsoft doesn’t see Nintendo and Sony as competitors anymore, they have their eyes on Google and Amazon moving forward.
Talking with Protocol, Phil Spencer talked about their long-term plans, and they are to focus on Google and Amazon while moving away from the Sony and Nintendo after so many years. They see the industry going in a new direction and that is where they want to be.
"When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward," Spencer said. "That's not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we've invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years."
Microsoft has been pushing Azure hard recently. Azure is their cloud computing service behind Project xCloud (Microsoft’s entry in the game streaming market) and it can also be used in individual games. Most recently, Microsoft Flight Simulator uses Azure to recreate the planet within the game.
This change in mindset didn’t come out of the blue. Some months ago, Microsoft entered into a partnership with Sony to work on cloud gaming and game streaming together. Besides working on the backend together, Microsoft is open on working on things such as crossplay too.
Large tech companies are very obviously pushing game streaming as the next big thing. Nvidia’s GeForce Now just exited beta, EA is working on Project Atlas, Google is seemingly not working on Stadia, there’s PlayStation Now, Tencent has Start, even Amazon is working on their own platform. With so many players in such a (for now) small market, it’s no wonder Microsoft wants to focus on xCloud and interconnecting all of their services.
It might still be early for such a move, developers and gamers are still unsure how they feel about streaming games. Microsoft might have just made life incredibly easy for Sony during the upcoming gen.