That sounds odd at first, but less so once you remember that while they are direct competitors in a couple areas of business, they’re both very big companies and hey, business is business.
A “memorandum of understanding” is far from a legally binding document, and “partner on new innovations to enchance customer experiences” is vague as all hell, but the fact that they’re even talking about working together is pretty interesting.
At a glance, it seems like both companies have something to gain here. Right now I think Sony is winning at the whole “video games” thing, but Microsoft definitely has a handle on the cloud computing angle, which I’m not sure Sony really has the infrastructure to tackle on the scale they might need.
What they might need leads me to my next baseless assumption, that this might be in some way a response to Google’s Stadia announcement. I’m far from readily onboard with Google’s idea of a streaming-only console, basically because they haven’t told us fuck-all about how it works or what it costs.
The idea, however, is interesting, and I think we can all see that the cloud plays a big part in the future of gaming. Whether we’re ready to completely give up physical consoles for the cloud remains to be seen, but the cloud is in there nonetheless. So perhaps for the PS5 and the Xbox 37 (because fuck sequential numbering, right?), Microsoft and Sony see more sense in creating a compatible backend for them both to use and being prepared when Google starts throwing around its considerable bankroll.
Microsoft and Sony will always be competitors at the end of the day, I’m sure, but anything the companies do that may lead to benefits for the consumer (cross-platform play as the rule, rather than the exception, for instance) is okay in my book.
Or, perhaps this will all turn out to be nothing.