Google Stadia, a streaming service once perceived to be a threat to Sony, will be shutting down on January 18, 2023. Despite pouring millions of dollars into the platform, Google will be ending service to the platform and is issuing refunds all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store. As a refresher, Jim Ryan announced a partnership between Sony and Microsoft for “joint development of future cloud solutions” back in 2019, which seems like a lifetime ago given the current battle between both companies over the Activision acquisition.
Sony and Microsoft were temporary allies against Google
Four years ago, the playing field for cloud gaming and streaming services was still uncertain and fluid, though Jim Ryan believed that they were going to be major features for the then upcoming PlayStation 5. At the time, PlayStation Now had been active for more than five years, and Xbox Game Pass had jumped into the fray in June 2017.
The deal Sony signed with Microsoft was an effort to fight against a growing number of companies like Google that were investing in the cloud gaming space. Adversity makes strange bedfellows and all that. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan explained the reason for the partnership by noting that Sony was “at great risk of having events around us overtake us” and that meant the company needed to keep an open mind with “a desire to do things an extent that we haven’t had to in the past.”
Sony even went so far to have a “Memorandum of Understanding signed with Microsoft.” This MOU explored ways for both companies to collaborate together, with Sony leaning on Microsoft Azure and how it could be incorporated into PlayStation Now and other PlayStation cloud services.
That said, with Google Stadia soon to be out of the way, Sony and Microsoft can once again focus on fighting one another with their rival subscription services and what looks to be a prolonged legal battle over the Microsoft-Activision deal.