Microsoft and Sony shocked the gaming world last week when they announced a partnership deal to develop game streaming technology and host some of PlayStation’s online services on the Microsoft Azure program.
However, it seems they also shocked some of their own employees, as the news came as a surprise to the Xbox and PlayStation teams much like it did for us.
As Bloomberg reports, much of the negotiation on the deal came from Sony senior management in Tokyo, without much input from the PlayStation branch of the company.
Negotiations with Microsoft began last year and were handled directly by Sony’s senior management in Tokyo, largely without the involvement of the PlayStation unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Staff at the gaming division were caught off-guard by the news. Managers had to calm workers and assure them that plans for the company’s next-generation console weren’t affected, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing private matters.
According to Eurogamer‘s own sources, many of the Xbox team at Microsoft were also kept in the dark:
Eurogamer understands many at Xbox were similarly unaware of the decision, which was planned at a high level within Microsoft.
Such a union between two big console gaming rivals is naturally surprising – but it speaks to the importance of cloud-computing infrastructure and how the next generation of gaming hardware will demand it. And, of course, the threat of new rivals, Google and Amazon.
But this time, it looks like no one else was in the room where it happened…
Because the deal between Sony and Microsoft is a historic moment for the industry, the deal was obviously brokered by the major players at both companies. Obviously we’ll have to wait to see just how the deal shakes out, but a combined streaming service from Microsoft and Sony might just be the game streaming service that wins the streambowl that’s about to go down.