Sony is working on a cloud gaming strategy that is 'unique and only on PlayStation'

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony is working on its own cloud gaming strategy which will be "unique and only on PlayStation," according to SIE boss Jim Ryan.

Speaking to Nikkei (and translated by VGC), Ryan explained that Sony is still having conversations with Microsoft and "exchanging ideas" about cloud gaming and that "when the time is right" Sony will share its cloud gaming strategy.

“We could conceivably use the cloud for our technical infrastructure, but the cloud gaming experience we’re offering will be unique and only on PlayStation," Ryan said. 

The cloud Ryan is referring to is Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology that currently powers a huge number of web applications and streaming services. Back in 2019, Sony and Microsoft announced a partnership that would see the two companies collaborating on game-streaming technology together.

“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 said in a blog post announcing the partnership two years ago. 

“In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services.” 

What does it mean for PS5?

Project xCloud

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Sony utilizing Microsoft's cloud gaming knowledge - and servers - means we'll likely see an Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly called Project xCloud) equivalent on PS5 in the future. 

Xbox Cloud Gaming is Microsoft's cloud gaming service, which initially released in beta testing in November 2019 before being launched as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription in September, 2020. 

Microsoft recently announced Xbox Cloud Gaming public testing is coming to Windows 10 PC and iOS devices with a limited beta for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members

Xbox Cloud Gaming allows players to stream games to mobile devices so they can access their game library on the go – paired with Xbox Game Pass which means subscribers can access over 100 games on a multitude of devices. 

It does this by leveraging Microsoft’s existing data centers across the globe and loading up servers with the component parts of multiple Xbox consoles to run the games streamed directly over the internet to the device of your choice. It's these servers that the partnership between Sony and Microsoft grants Sony access to, granting the infrastructure to allow PlayStation cloud gaming to become possible.

When asked whether cloud gaming could affect the PS5 life cycle or whether Sony develops another PlayStation console in the future, Ryan said:

“It’s hard to answer that question right now, but history shows that sales peak in the third or fourth year. At the end of the cycle, the cloud may play some role. I’m more optimistic about the future than I was a year ago.”

“We have just released PS5, so at this point it’s time to learn how people are enjoying it, and then we’ll take the time to think about the future of PlayStation,” Ryan continued.

It's possible that rather than a brand new cloud gaming service, we see Sony updating its somewhat lackluster PlayStation Now service. But, for now, we can only speculate about what Sony will bring to the table with its cloud gaming offering.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.