Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming and therefore the overlord of all things Xbox, has thrown some serious shade at Sony and Nintendo. Even though the Xbox Series X is due to launch around the same time as the PS5, into a market where the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite have both sold very well, Spencer has said that Microsoft doesn’t see Nintendo and Sony as its major rivals right now.
“When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward,” said Spencer in an interview with Protocol. His reasons for thinking this way are tied to cloud computing, which Microsoft has been working on for years with a project called Azure. Microsoft’s Azure-powered xCloud service, which can stream Xbox One-standard games onto your phone, is already at the stage of having a technical preview test.
As Spencer explained it: “That’s not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years.”
“I don’t want to be in a fight over format wars with those guys [Nintendo and Sony] while Amazon and Google are focusing on how to get gaming to seven billion people around the world. Ultimately, that’s the goal,” Spencer added. He’s referring, of course, to the fact that these tech companies are also throwing big money into developing the world of gaming at the moment. Google Stadia – a cloud gaming service that can stream games onto TVs, phones, tablets, and computers – is a prime example of the sort of rival product that Spencer is very aware of.
Additionally, apparently Spencer implied that Microsoft is “willing to cooperate with Nintendo and Sony on initiatives like allowing gamers on the various companies’ systems to play with and against one another.” Despite the fact these three companies have long been considered rivals, it seems like there may be more collaboration between them as the gaming industry grows and changes to incorporate more technological challengers.