The cornerstone of the partnership is Microsoft's Azure cloud technology that now powers a huge number of web applications and streaming services - which both Sony and Microsoft will continue to explore in the future.
Of course we've long-known that Sony didn't have the cloud infrastructure, despite its successful PlayStation Now service, to rival Microsoft or Google when things get serious in the cloud gaming space.
Moreover, although Sony and Microsoft have always been at ends when it comes to gaming hardware, the two now face a larger foe in the game-streaming arena: Google Stadia.
There still isn't an option to do this with PS3 titles but if Sony is working towards making streaming much more reliable and viable in this industry, then I expect for this service to become on par with Microsoft's upcoming xCloud. However, this joint venture will see Sony and Microsoft engineers come together to improve Azure, allowing both companies to improve their respective cloud and content streaming services. (Microsoft) announced on Thursday that the two companies will partner on new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions.
Microsoft and Sony aren't going at each other's necks this week but instead are forming an unusual partnership.
Sony and Microsoft will also explore collaboration in the areas of semiconductors and AI, which will "provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers". Microsoft will have also considered its position in light of these developments, especially Google's Stadia strategy. That's a whole lot of vague, corporate-speak, but both companies provide just enough information for us to wildly speculate on what such a partnership means for the future of PC gaming, and gaming in general, if it means anything at all this early on. With hosting now handled at Microsoft, there's no reasonable argument for why cross-play multiplayer shouldn't be enabled on all Xbox Next and PS5 games. Amazon is also rumored to be planning a game streaming service as well. Perhaps by upping their game in the streaming realm, Microsoft and Sony hope to avoid that being a valid criticism. The two companies also want to bring AI to Sony's consumer products, which spread far beyond PlayStation and into many different product categories.