With the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X looming on the horizon, it's inevitable that we're going to see some posturing from the various platform holders as they try to convince consumers that their black box is the one you really need under your TV.
A few days ago, Nintendo's president Shuntaro Furukawa voiced the opinion that neither the PS5 or Xbox Series X would have any real impact on the fortunes of the Switch. Now, Xbox chief Phil Spencer has added his comments to what will no doubt be a real melting pot of soundbites as the year progresses, telling Protocol that Nintendo and Sony aren't the companies Microsoft is looking to beat in this upcoming war:
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… 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.
Microsoft, more so than its traditional rivals, is heavily banking on cloud gaming in this next-gen war, with the Azure-powered Project xCloud promising to revolutionise the way Xbox fans access and enjoy their games. Sony, which purchased Gaikai back in 2012, also has an interest in cloud gaming, but Nintendo is yet to dip its toe into the technology (although it's worth noting that some third-parties, like Capcom and Ubisoft, have done so on Switch already).
Given Microsoft's focus on cloud gaming and its investment in its Azure platform, it's understandable that Amazon and Google would be seen as key rivals, despite the fact that neither company has made any real dent in the 'traditional' gaming space as yet. However, if cloud gaming takes off in the same way that music and movie streaming has done, then the battlefield of the future could look very different – but will Sony and Nintendo, with their market-leading first-party exclusives and massively-popular titles, really be out of the picture?
We're pretty sure that won't be the case.