Sony and Microsoft's historic partnership announcement took the gaming world by storm earlier this week, but now it turns out that it hasn't even happened yet, according to Sony CEO Jim Ryan during Sony's Investor Relations Day 2019 yesterday. The previous news seemed to indicate that the two companies had made their peace with each other and put to rest around two decades of being competitors to form a unified front to face the uncertain future of console gaming.
Perhaps everyone believed the news of the partnership because it doesn't seem so far-fetched anymore. Google Stadia is a major threat to console gaming, and the streaming platform has continued to generate buzz ahead of its launch. Microsoft has been scaling back its console interests in favor of strategic partnerships and hardware alliances that seemed to indicate the company wanted to operate in conjunction with others on a more frequent basis. Sony completely dominated this console generation in a way that may never be matched, and it's possible that dominance could render the next generation's battle just as much of a no-contest. A partnership, then, makes a lot of sense for both parties.
According to Ryan, though, that partnership doesn't exist yet. During Sony's Investor Relations Day 2019, Ryan suggested that what the two companies are working on right now is a "broad memorandum of understanding" between them. In short: no partnership yet, but a signed intent from both parties to assist each other in improving a number of areas of their games offerings. Ryan also said that Sony believes Microsoft could be a great partner in the official sense, stating that it would be a "great benefit" for both parties to work together.
As it stands right now, though, both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding that commits them to explore potential partnerships. What that means is that they've taken the first steps to forming a partnership, rather than already having one that both have committed to completely. Once the companies work past their initial conversations on the subject, and an agreement is made on important business principles for both sides, the two can then begin looking at business models that make sense for both of them.
It's not quite the bombshell announcement we believed it to be earlier, then, but rather the indicator that one such announcement could be coming at a later date. If they end up having different goals, the companies can mutually agree to part ways and say they at least tried. From a consumer perspective, though, we have to hope that's not the case — companies like Google and Amazon are attempting to make inroads in gaming, and it's likely that strategic partnerships will be the name of the game for even the most major players to survive if the former two companies succeed.