Microsoft has seemingly bet the entire Xbox farm on cloud gaming, but it looks like PlayStation won’t be following suit. In a new interview published today by the Financial Times, Sony Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida expressed caution regarding cloud gaming technology, claiming that it remains “very tricky” from a technical standpoint. While Sony has obviously invested already in different possibilities for streaming games, including projects that include GT Sophy, Sony’s artificial intelligence agent, Yoshida’s remarks would suggest that Sony’s current focus lies with evaluating options and refining its approach before fully committing to cloud gaming.
“I think cloud itself is an amazing business model, but when it comes to games, the technical difficulties are high,” said Yoshida, citing latency — the fast response times demanded by gamers — as the biggest issue. “So there will be challenges to cloud gaming, but we want to take on those challenges.”
While it launched a cloud gaming subscription service in 2014 that is now integrated with its upgraded and expanded service PS Plus Premium, analysts say Sony has not capitalised on its early bet to establish itself as a leader in the field.
Yoshida also pointed to the costly inefficiencies of cloud gaming where servers are idle for much of the day before having to cope with the high levels of traffic of gamers playing during the evening or “dark time”. He added that Sony had responded by unleashing GT Sophy in the quiet hours to learn how to beat human competitors in the auto-racing simulator Gran Turismo.
“The dark time for cloud gaming had been an issue for Microsoft as well as Google, but it was meaningful that we were able to use those [quieter] hours for AI learning,” said Yoshida, speaking at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo.