Sony's Microsoft Azure-powered cloud service will be PlayStation exclusive

Playstation at GDC 2019
Playstation at GDC 2019 (Image credit: GDC)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Sony entered a strategic cloud partnership in 2019.
  • Sony's cloud plans are still in development.
  • Whatever Sony cooks up will be PlayStation exclusive.

Wondering what the news is on Sony's in-development cloud strategy? Well, keep waiting because even though the company entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft back in 2019 to enhance its cloud capabilities and utilize Azure, word on what the fruits of that partnership's labors will be is still pretty vague. The big thing that we know now is that whatever Sony creates for its cloud gaming ambitions will be PlayStation exclusive.

In an interview with Nikkei (translated by VGC), President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan mentioned that Sony is still conversing with Microsoft regarding exchanging ideas, which include "some very interesting stuff." But that's not all the news we received about Sony's PS5 cloud 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, revealing that Sony's cloud service is planned for PS users only. Ryan goes on to say, in response to a question on whether cloud tech will disrupt PlayStation's traditional hardware cycle, that "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."

Ryan then circled back to discussing how the PS5 is still a new release, so Sony's priority is seeing how consumers react to the console before it dives into the uncharted (heh) waters of future PlayStation endeavors.

That's the scoop. As of now, no PlayStation cloud services are slated to come to the Xbox Series X, meaning no God of War on Xbox. You'll just have to stick with the best Xbox games if Microsoft's console is the one gaming box you own.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to

  • I am so sorry to say this about a human person, but this guy is so useless. However many times he went and gave an interview, there were some very big nothings flying around. A CEO should be at the very least charismatic, and when leading a giant corporation like PlayStation, should be having some kind of vision too. We know from Jim Ryan that: something-something exclusives, something-something cloud, something-something Game-Pass-counterpunch. Nothing concrete. They have fallen behind so much... He must be doing something very well behind the scenes though, because from where I stand, he could be replaced with a pumpkin and that would do a better job.
  • They are clearly taking over the remaining market share in the hardware home console market, Nintendo is cleaning house in the portable market, Valve continues to laugh at Microsoft as it pertains to software distribution on PC. Microsoft will have to transition into a traditional game publisher, and go where the customers are i.e. Steam, PSN, Nintendo Game Store, Google Play Store, and Apple Store - if it wishes to sell products.... that is where the customers are.
  • I couldn't understand you through your thick bias for Sony. "Clearly taking over the remaining market share"? Is the next generation market share being swamped by Sony? In your dreams. Game Pass is on Android and iOS if your Playstation themed horse blinders were stopping you from noticing. There are also dozens of alternatives to Steam on the open platform of Windows and PC gamers aren't so headstrong into one brand like you seem to be and are fine using multiple places to get their games.
  • "They are clearly taking over the remaining market share in the hardware home console market" I put my whole comment on this subject above, as you spliced it. Clearly Sony/Nintendo are taking market share in the home console market, whether or not the switch is a real competitor in this area.... or handheld. It has to do with facts, not bias. Xbox hardware continues to go down since 2011 in units, matter of fact, its at or below average original Xbox hardware numbers 2001-2005 now in annual units. Even in 2011, the units sold were only about 14 million. Market share could be subjective if the switch is included or excluded, but MS is also down over the last 10 years in units. Clearly, MS is losing customers and have been for a decade or so in hardware. "There are also dozens of alternatives to Steam on the open platform of Windows and PC gamers aren't so headstrong into one brand like you seem to be and are fine using multiple places to get their games." Oh, I never said there isn't other stores, maybe I can change my comments to everyone is laughing at MS when it comes to software distribution on PC. Its not my fault, I stand by my comments in that (taking market share/units) regard. (Have a good a day) You're still in the denial phase of the rinse and repeat cycle, imo. Its over just like it was over for Groove, Zune, Band, Kinect, Windows Phone, RT devices, Games for Windows Live, etc. Microsoft could be a traditional game publishers just like they were since the 90s, as far as game distribution (middleman). Those days were over when they shut Games for Windows Live down in 2014. "Denial is the most predictable of all human responses." -The Architect (The Matrix Reloaded)
  • Daisy, I think that's a short term perspective and based on looking backward on Xbox One and PS4. Sony is riding the success of superior 1st party games in that last generation. I would expect Xbox Series X to outsell PS5 this generation when the new first party apps start to roll out, and just as Xbox 360 outsold PS3. Maybe the PS6 will again outsell MS successor to the Series X|S. One generation has little bearing on the success of the next.
  • But its not short-term, its more than a decade. Most estimates are that the PS3 narrowly outsold the Xbox 360 by 1 million units but it was on the market about 1 year after the Xbox 360 launch. It wasn't a great launch for Sony, by 2011... they got their **** together, imo. Its like saying Windows CE Phone outsold an Apple phone in 2003 (there was no Apple phone in 2003 btw), so just hold on a little longer.... comeback. LOL - the Xbox has never sold good, it did okay for a few years i.e. 2009-2011 about 13-14m units
    - the Xbox sales in units has steadily gone down every year more or less
    - sales now are now the worst they have ever been or close to it... exact numbers by year on the original Xbox are hard to come... they did 24m units in 4 years People aren't moving back and forth anymore, they are moving and staying when they move from MS products. There isn't much left. This is a clear rinse and repeat of all the other consumer devices MS has been involved in. Best and safe bets: Phones - Apple/Google
    Digital Watches - Apple/Fitbit
    Tablets - Apple/Google
    PC - Microsoft/Apple
    Servers - big generalization Linux, imo, long-term
    Home Console - Sony/Nintendo
    Handheld Console - Nintendo There is a reason why Microsoft finally ditched Windows Phone, they lost. It really is that simple. People aren't coming back. Things are not getting better... they are clearly getting worse. For the record, I loved the original Xbox and Xbox 360 (other than quality of the hardware was a major issue) but people aren't coming back.... they're actually still leaving. BTW, if you don't believe me... Microsoft has said Sony and Nintendo aren't their competition. LOL
  • tbh, Sony is still in the old PS1~4 business model. Sony has to keep buying PS4/5/6/7 Core, keep testing games on new HW, OS and API. MS on the other hand, is doing the console/platform-as-a-service model. Hyper-V&Virtual Machine is the foundations of better-than-PC BC/FC support, Quick Resume and xCloud. MS let you keep all your investments (time == save files, money == your game lib and DLC, etc). It's the same business model as Adobe, Facebook, App/PlayStore, Azure, Azure IOT, GitHub, Visual Studio, Windows and other MS dev services. Game priced the same but a game from Xbox Store, you get
    1. robust BC/FC and free cross-gen&platform cloud save.
    2. XPA-on-the-go on your Alienware, Surface or Aya Neo, the Xbox Handheld. Work even during flights.
    3. xCloud-on-the-go on phones (aiming @ kids and their friends or someone who was once a game but not anymore), browser, PC and fridge.
    Game cost the same but the value... is way different.
    e.g. PSPA. There are many things Sony just can't offer. Sony's greatest advantages are 1) advertisement, 2) the brand and 3) common folks, the majority who don't know much about game and techs, 4) social network. 1. For non-Nintendo j-AAA-publishers, j-console market is unprofitable and they are not doing well in the western market. Home turf is dying, how do you save a niche game that, you think it might have some global appeal? Go cross-platform, TRY to reach as much user as possible (all Xboxes, xCloud and XPA).
    2. Xbox, the console/platform-as-a-service, is the new mega trend (CEO of Sega said it).
    These are the 2 main reason why j-AAA-publishers are releasing games on Xbox.
  • You call it an old business model yet that is what is selling. LOL Everyone has been able to stream which is what you are talking about with Sony via your own hardware since 2013, actually in limited game testing since 2006. There simply isn't a market for game streaming which is why the companies doing it continue to go down.... Shadow Gaming is the lastest victim. Sony actually has been into streaming before Microsoft abandoned it the first time since 2014. Game streaming which is what I think you are talking about has really been around a long time, heck I was in the OnLive beta in 2009-2010 and even the PS Now beta back in 2014. This isn't new. LOL I would say game streaming is old, been there and done that. "For non-Nintendo j-AAA-publishers, j-console market is unprofitable and they are not doing well in the western market. " You are on a different planet, what you are talking about makes very little sense that I can see... Sony and Nintendo are knocking out of the park. LOL "Game priced the same but a game from Xbox Store, you get" Microsoft launched GFWL as a game distribution channel.... never even tried to compete, the software was completely broken, kept making promises.... eventually abandoned it and the gamers, developers and publishers. Than the started a whole new Store for some reason and than added the whole stupid UWP nonsense.... nobody cares, its broken software again as far as the Store. Rinse and repeat. PC gamers aren't coming back, console gamers aren't coming back.... matter of fact... they are still leaving. LOL Nobody cares about game streaming. What you are saying seems to be revision history plus an infomercial. "There are many things Sony just can't offer." Sony seems to have what people want which is why they are doing good in the space, not sure what you are even talking about. Sony isn't even Microsoft's competition... see prior Microsoft comments. LOL Microsoft has constantly lost market share in the game console market over the last 10+ years and they haven't really done anything as far as Steam. Which is why they are releasing games on Steam. LOL Hey, maybe one day that will change... but I doubt it.... and I doubt they are able to take the phone market either, or the digital watch market, or the game distribution market, or the music streaming market, etc. The old model is where Microsoft thinks they can outspend other consumer focused companies and win on hardware, and that they outspend and become a middleman for consumer software distribution. These strategies have 100% of failed for Microsoft. Dream away. Mobile Phones - Apple/Google
    Tablets - Apple/Google... maybe Amazon
    PC (OS) - Microsoft/Apple... Linux for selected users
    Server (OS) - Linux (companies should be moving away from Windows there)
    Home Consoles - Sony/Nintendo
    Mobile Consoles - Nintendo maybe Nvidia
    AI Devices - Amazon
    Digital Watches - Fitbit/Apple
    VR - Sony/Facebook/Samsung The above doesn't even get into all the consumers services that Microsoft has abandoned like Groove Music, Games for Windows Live, etc. Microsoft is the new IBM i.e. legacy business enterprise and more or less centralized processing like IBM mainframe... we just call it the cloud now. LOL The consumer never really cared about Microsoft, its just PCs were more relied upon in the 90s.... its been 20+ years of failure for MS in the consumer space. That isn't my fault.... there really isn't much left at this point in the consumer space to fail at. Microsoft = IBM
  • Daisy, IBM doesn't sell consumer products, nor even small business products, and hasn't since it sold its Thinkpad line to Lenovo. Microsoft is not IBM anymore than it's Exxon. Your PS3 vs. Xbox 360 numbers above are misleading. You are correct that at the end of the generation Sony caught up and passed MS Xbox 360 sales by a hair, but not on game units: millions of people bought PS3s because they were the cheapest Bluray disc player available at the time, back before mass-market streaming when DVD players were ubiquitous in homes. Many customers bought PS3s just for the drive and never cared or played any games on them. In my case, I actually did buy and game on a PS3 over the Xbox 360 because of the drive (I thought at the time: why would I waste money on the Xbox360 when most games are on both systems and the PS3 includes a Bluray drive?). Aside from the survey data showing that among PS3 customers, games sales data also backs this up. There were many more games and service subscriptions sold for Xbox 360 than for PS3, reflecting that many of the PS3s were not purchased for gaming. Quite simply, Xbox 360 "won" (to the extent that's an applicable term) that generation. PS4 similarly "won" last generation. PS5 has a lead in this generation, but I'm fairly confident it won't stand. The PS5 is both technically inferior to the Series X and probably won't be able to compete in terms of 1st party games over the next few years (and the Series S undercuts the cheaper Sony model on price). This parallels the Xbox 360 taking the crown from Sony, which clearly owned the generation before that with the PS2. Historically, the companies have traded places in leadership each generation. I don't see any compelling evidence that will be different this time.
  • "IBM doesn't sell consumer products" Exactly, now you are getting it. Microsoft is basically down to one thing... everything else in the consumer space has ended horribly. Everything from digital watches, to phones, to music streaming, to AI devices, to motion controls, to mp3 players, etc. 100% failure rate, gaming is a failure as well.... but they have money from business enterprise to stuff into the furnace. Microsoft = IBM " Historically, the companies have traded places in leadership each generation." Historically, Sony took over the home console market, had a few bad years in the last 25 years. Microsoft has had a few okay years 2009-2011 in home consoles. The rest has been a disaster. As far as software distribution.... first Games for Windows lIve failure and abandonment, and whatever the MS Store is supposed to be. LOL "Quite simply, Xbox 360 "won" (to the extent that's an applicable term) that generation. " No, the two Game Cubes ducted taped together one won that gen i.e. Nintendo.... Sony did poorly but still sold 1m units more in 1 last year on the market than Microsoft, but since that time.... Xbox sales went steadily down... PS sales went up steadily. But that is history now.... Xbox sales continue to go down from not even okay levels i.e. the end. Xbox sales were never good, ever. They were okay around 2009-2011 with about 13-14m units, other than that.... its been bad. Since 2011.... its all down hill and now at original Xbox levels which would be abandonment area for most companies. Those customers aren't coming back... matter of fact, MS is still losing market share. Microsoft says Sony and Nintendo are not their competition, that battle has already been lost... they're not coming back.... just like Steam customers won't be coming back. Microsoft is not needed as a middleman, nor does the market want them there on the consumer side.
  • 23 million Game Pass subscribers says otherwise. I really don't understand your hate boner for Microsoft, it's making you spout these insane rants on a daily basis.
  • Because people like Daisy like to troll attack what they fear. In their "Insecure-loyal-to-one-console" mind, It makes them feel Better about themselves. God forbid that both consoles can CO exist and both be successful.....
  • I would say I provide factual information instead of an infomercial. "God forbid that both consoles can CO exist and both be successful....." The market determines the winner, just like with the Windows Phone. You are emotionally attached to a piece of plastic. Blaming me for all these failures and pointing it out, isn't going to change the outcome see Band, Kinect, Games for Windows Live, Windows Phone, Skype (technically alive but they ****** that all up), Groove Music, Zune, Cortana (enabled devices), etc. ---> Rinse and repeat. <--- Microsoft never made any traction against Steam, and they continue to lose the remaining hardware sales to Nintendo/Sony. People aren't coming back, they never really had that many to start with. BTW Microsoft has said Nintendo and Sony are not the competition, so I don't understand your comment to be honest on any level. If you are looking for business enterprise solutions, maybe Microsoft can help you out... if you need a consumer product/service.... not so much. LOL
  • So Microsoft is failing now? You're obviously not paying attention. I wouldn't mind having some of that failing money.... Me emotional? Nope, I'm just an observer of people's behavior. You do same thing over and over. You just proved that with "rinse and repeat " An emotional person spends unhealthy amounts of time writing waaaallllls of text bashing Microsoft on a Microsoft related website. Lol.🤣 By the way, I own Xbox and Playstation. So......😉
  • No, Microsoft isn't failing now.... they have never really succeeded on the consumer product/services. Which is why there isn't anything really left at this point, or down to 1. "An emotional person spends unhealthy amounts of time writing waaaallllls of text bashing Microsoft on a Microsoft related website." I'm not writing all these silly articles about Windows Phone, Games for Windows Live, Zune, Band, Xbox, etc... this site is. BTW, I own 2 original Xboxes and 2 Xbox 360s, I had a Windows Phone until early last year, I have a cheap windows 8 inch tablet made in China, and I am typing this on a Surface Pro 3. LOL So? Your mental gymnastics isn't healthy and that is my observation. Most of what I have written is facts... Xbox sales continue to go down at an alarming rate over 10 years, market share has drastically been lost in hardware, Valve is over there laughing still and Nintendo/Sony aren't even Microsoft's competition. That's not my fault.
  • "No, Microsoft isn't failing now...."
    *Ding, ding, ding!* Then why keep bringing it up? Thank you for proving my point again... All companies make mistakes along the way. And they all will make more. Risk/reward is the name of the game. Noone is twisting your arm to read an article. "Most of what I say is facts"
    *Ding, ding, ding!* Not all of it. Some of it you pull out of your behind in an attempt to sound intelligent and to mislead. Sounds like you're getting a bit worked up over what I said. Dare I say you're getting..........emotional. Nah, you've been emotionally triggered since the mention of MS in partnership with Sony over Azure. LOL. Anyway, carry on with your antics. Thanks for the Gymnastic workout.
  • Ding ding, you haven't made a point, let alone proved a point. "All companies make mistakes along the way. And they all will make more. Risk/reward is the name of the game." That is a generic statement that can be made about any company, so? They didn't make a mistake, they lost, see digital watches, mobile phones, tablet market, music streaming, motion control devices, AI, AI devices, etc. There simply isn't much left to lose at. LOL These are facts. "Noone is twisting your arm to read an article. " Oh, I enjoy readying the consumer product articles, its quite entertaining... too bad Jason doesn't write those silly articles anymore. Nobody is twisting your arm to read my comments. "Some of it you pull out of your behind in an attempt to sound intelligent and to mislead." Actually, again the opposite... any idiot can see this hasn't worked i.e. reality. Only the brain dead are putting up the fight or those getting ad dollars. Even the mass brain dead gave up. "Sounds like you're getting a bit worked up over what I said. Dare I say you're getting..........emotional." You are projecting, you are very emotional... most of my comments are factual. Although I have made opinions based on those facts i.e. MS has failed in the consumer market. I would say that is a fact at this point, or more like something a normal person wouldn't have a discussion about. "Nah, you've been emotionally triggered since the mention of MS in partnership with Sony over Azure. LOL" Not emotional at all, stating the facts... there is no partnership. You emotions are based on delusions, my comments are based in facts. There is no partnership like the article says.... matter of fact, Jim Ryan confirmed again the other day there is no partnership. Funny you bring up Azure, services I support or use in work. LOL "Thanks for the Gymnastic workout." Clearly you are working on emotion, all of your post are void of facts. Most of my comments are based on facts. My opinion that MS sucks at consumer stuff is based on facts.... there isn't really much left, what is left is shrinking at a drastic rate. Cry away. The funny part was that you started to bring up you own Playstation like that makes your thinking somehow better. LOL I own MS products, so the **** what? MS is running out of things to fail at on the consumer side of the market.... the market picked the winner, not you, not this site with stupid articles, and not even me. The market, the market has been saying for 10+ years what Microsoft is doing isn't going to work. You can blame me all you want... but its not going to change a thing. Obvious observation i.e. rinse and repeat. (running out of stuff at his point) Getting mad at me is going to be about as successful as this site writing silly articles that don't make much sense.... zero.
  • Sony and Microsoft are not partners in any business as far as Azure/Playstation that is public knowledge, Jim Ryan explained further after the announcement in May 2019: "Sony and Microsoft have signed “broad memorandum of understanding” to explore potential partnerships, but not a major contract or anything of that nature. As it stands, there’s no “official” partnership between the two companies- yet." Basically, they have an agreement to possible work on some stuff. Which is why this has not produced fruit. Of course, as far as basic cloud services those are offered as well by Amazon, IBM, etc. (btw "the cloud" is made up definitions, everyone has cloud services) I would think anything that involves PS would be for work on virtualization of consoles for streaming. Both companies are just using custom rack mounted consoles, they are not really virtualized instances. All of this will probably never come to be as there is no real demand for game streaming and for obvious reasons. The vast majority of gamers don't even understand any of this. Destiny players actually thought they were playing on servers and didn't even know otherwise. LOL "no PlayStation cloud services are slated to come to the Xbox Series X" If Microsoft wishes to sell games, they are going to have to make good games at some point and go where the customers are i.e. traditional game publisher.... not the other way around.
  • Wow...So determined. Such passion and zeal. I must admit........I didn't read any of that. Lol. Why? Because just like all of the articles on here, it's a choice whether or not to read the multitude of post of you constantly babbling on and on. If you want to continue to write mountains of paragraphs, knock yourself out, kiddo. Such vigor. Carry on. 🥱
    You're special.
  • It's simple.. Sony wants to use Microsoft Azure, They will sign a contract at the point Sony starts developing the vision that they have. It'll end up a partnership with Microsoft likely to announce something first followed by Sony/PlayStation in the Battle against Google and Amazon..(Well Stadia is dead sorta) With that said. Jim is so useless in interviews. It all feels like total flip-flopping untill Something really happens or is announced that we can say.. Okay cool.
  • Take all of Sony's money and invest it into Game pass.
  • x box cloud is way better then sony . and just wait till windows cloud comes out let alone Microsoft AR glasses .
  • Oh God here he goes again... thing is all you say might be true until it isn't... Apple less that 15 years ago didn't iphone. And sony was in the cave a decade ago. Nokia was leading until it wasn't Kodak also... being in a good position a leader or whatever doesn't mean it will stay like that. Point is who the eff knows... we might end up with oculus taking over everything with retina implants in 2025.... it doesn't matter fact is MS is not going anywhere and is here to stay and they'll make a butt load of money for decades to come whether you like it or not and more than sony and Nintendo that's for sure....