Cloud gaming faces challenges, says Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida

Jun 5, 2023, 7:27 AM UTC
2 mins read
Cloud gaming faces challenges, says Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida
(Photo by Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has expressed cautious optimism about the future of cloud gaming, highlighting significant barriers that the industry must overcome. In an interview with the Financial Times, Yoshida acknowledged the potential of deploying artificial intelligence (AI) in cloud gaming but emphasized the challenges associated with the streaming model.

According to Yoshida, one of the major obstacles lies in the latency and cost inefficiencies that arise from maintaining servers during quieter hours. Despite Microsoft‘s substantial investment in cloud gaming, Yoshida observed that most users still prefer traditional consoles or gaming PCs over streaming platforms. This sentiment aligns with the struggles faced by previous standalone cloud gaming services like OnLive and Alphabet’s Stadia, which failed to gain significant traction. In contrast, Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service has experienced notable growth.

Looking ahead, Yoshida mentioned the possibility of utilizing Sony’s AI agent, Sophy, in the realm of cloud gaming. The company has already leveraged less-active gaming hours to train Sophy in the racing game Gran Turismo, enabling the AI to surpass human players. This development underscores Sony’s commitment to exploring innovative technologies and integrating them into its gaming ecosystem.

While Yoshida refrained from commenting on Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of game publisher Activision Blizzard, which awaits regulatory approval, it is clear that Sony is preparing for a strategic foray into cloud gaming. With a focus on expanding beyond consoles and tapping into the mobile gaming market, Sony acquired independent game studio Bungie last year. This acquisition positions Sony to accelerate the development of live services not only on PlayStation consoles but also across other platforms.

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, cloud gaming offers promising possibilities, yet significant hurdles remain. Yoshida’s cautious approach underscores the need for continued innovation and investment to overcome challenges related to latency, cost efficiency, and user preferences. Sony’s interest in AI-driven solutions, such as Sophy, signals its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the gaming landscape.

In the months ahead, as Sony gears up for its venture into cloud gaming, industry observers eagerly anticipate the company’s strategic moves and the potential impact they will have on the broader gaming ecosystem. With the combination of its established console business, recent studio acquisitions, and exploration of cloud gaming, Sony aims to solidify its position as a leading player in the dynamic and competitive gaming industry.

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