In some big news over the weekend, SEGA and Microsoft announced they would be partnering up to form a "strategic alliance that explores ways for SEGA to produce large-scale, global games in a next-generation development environment built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform." The alliance is said to be part of a "mid to long-term strategy".
In a press release, it was said the companies will explore this prospect for "new strategic titles" that will "establish a next-generation development environment". It was also added that "by shifting to a next-generation development platform, SEGA can effectively adapt to diversifying work styles and potential infrastructural changes".
Microsoft's corporate vice president Sarah Bond said that the companies "will reimagine how games get built, hosted, and operated", bringing more to players and SEGA.
"SEGA has played such an iconic role in the gaming industry and has been a tremendous partner over the years. We look forward to working together as they explore new ways to create unique gaming experiences for the future using Microsoft cloud technologies. Together we will reimagine how games get built, hosted, and operated, with a goal of adding more value to players and SEGA alike."
Yukio Sugino, the president of the SEGA Corporation, added that the strategic alliance will "help develop SEGA's new 'Super Game' initiative", along with assisting next-gen development. The ultimate aim is to bring SEGA's game development and Microsoft's cloud technologies together to create new experiences for players.
Are you excited at the prospect of SEGA and Microsoft teaming up? Let us know in the comments below.
Was Sega the suppose to be the next big acquisition, and is this the end result? For some Sega is bigger then Bethesda.
Why cloud tho??
It suggests a closer bond between the two, with Sega perhaps using xCloud technology, Azure stuff like Flight Sim did and improved dev tools (particularly to allow working from home etc.) - and just pure hosting and productivity.
Given the involvement of Xbox personnel (see Twitter, Sarah Bond and others) it does seem like it's more than pure "we want to use your cloud stuff" and perhaps some jointly-developed games - and hopefully a big discount was offered to ensure more games for Game Pass and more Xbox versions of Sega games.
Even if there was no such caveat, it seems Sega will look to use xCloud tech (probably can see the huge benefit in Japan) which runs on Series X blades - so if they're converting Persona for example to run on xCloud they might as well release it for us anyway
Next gen Sega channel has been in the works for a while so this isn't that crazy from said standpoint. However, if you told me in 2002 that eventually MS would work with Sony and Sega in the 2010's to the 2020's, I'd have laughed at you. I guess it just shows that more companies really are trying to make streaming a reality. With the power of investors, it seems they are forcing that to happen (and will likely succeed).
The future sure looks bright for us, someday. I mean FH5 and Halo Infinite will carry me for awhile but I'd love to just see a little of these AAAA, super games.
@IronMan30 Didn't MS and Sega work together on the OG Xbox?
@Xiovanni Idk about that but I know MS helped Sega with DC. I didn't even know that until a decade on. That's why I specified if you'd told me that in 2002 I wouldn't have believed it.
Edit: That sounded a bit jerk-ish of me, so apologies if it came off that way, but upon Googling it I see you're right. I guess what goes around comes around. MS and Sega have been pretty open to collaboration if the opportunity makes sense, I guess.
it's all coming together 😀😀😀😀
This is just a way of improving working environment efficiency and Also sounds like sega are going to use the azure servers which means they are planning on making more "online/MMO" games or make their own streaming service like EA access or ubisoft plus
So don't get too excited for persona lol
Yup, xCloud already works great for me and I can see cloud gaming as the next big thing going forward. Hopefully this partnership means all/most Sega games come to Xbox in the future 🙂
Persona is nice and all but I couldn't bring myself to finish it on PS5 (when I still had it). There are better games in Sega's portfolio I'd be more excited about.
Seems like this Sega thing is a lot like when Sony made a deal with Microsoft pertaining to Azure...
Not sure this means anything for where Sega games will be playable.
@UltimateOtaku91 It's more the streaming side - unless they build their own streaming tech it'd make sense for them to licence xCloud.
That uses XSX blades so if they put a future Persona on it there'd be no reason not to also release it on Xbox.
And if they instead use some new PC streaming blades with MS then also great as hopefully would mean streamed PC games - want AoE4 on my Xbox more than I want Persona even
@uptownsoul It's already suggested it'll be used for streaming etc which suggests xCloud as unlike Sony Sega don't really have that.
And Xbox were deeply involved in the talks which they weren't in the Sony ones (as much at least) so I suspect at the very least some collaboration on some cloud based games
Maybe those next gen cloud arcade games are going to come to Game Pass
Honestly not sure what to make of this. Initially hyped but the wording "the key focuses... 'global', 'online', 'community' and 'IP utilisation'" leaves me cold.
Hopefully something i'm actually interested to play comes out of this alliance.
I'm still annoyed at bill gates for not supporting Dreamcast games on the Xbox bk In the day , stupid decision to say no
But does this mean Sega will make good games again or not?
There has been a lot of talk about MS acquiring Sega but maybe that was people reading too much into the 'talks' that were probably taking place to form this partnership.
@The-Chosen-one The Cloud offers immense benefits to game developers. For a start, you are not limited on 'disc' storage for the 'design'. For example, a large open world map with all the assets can take up a lot of storage but you can have the whole 'Earth' on a Server in the cloud. 4k games with 4k quality assets take up even more storage so may limit games even more.
Its not just the limitations of internal storage on devices - especially with SSD prices, but if you also want to sell those games on a 'physical' disc, you are limited on storage for distribution. They could get round that by having a 'day 1 download' to install the game but you still have issues of local storage. The Cloud too can do a LOT of the heavy work too - AI, Physics etc could be down in the cloud too.
Another benefit to developers is that they could make a 'single' version of the game - not limited by the 'lowest' specs or trying to port to multiple devices. The game could run entirely in the cloud with all the visual bells & whistles, at a locked frame rate because its not limited by the spec of your hardware.
In the cloud, you could have worlds that are constantly evolving as it can be 'updated' every second. The whole world could feel much more alive with real time 'growth' and development throughout because the 'world' is running in the cloud.
There are MANY pro's to the cloud for developers/publishers and of course gamers. Of course some 'Cons' too but one of the major 'cons' seems to be addressed - Lag/latency. Whilst its still not quite the same as playing locally, its probably better than the 360 era. Also, if they target a minimum of 60fps, the input lag is 'significantly' lower than 30fps regardless.
In my opinion, the benefits of the cloud significantly outweigh the cons for devs/publishers and MS has the 'best' infrastructure for them. Its not just the cloud itself, but the distribution service (Game Pass) too. That service is on Last Gen too - you can play next gen games on XB1 by streaming from the cloud.
For a company like SEGA, they can make 'next' gen only games and reach billions. They don't need to worry about scaling down to run on an XB1s, just focus on one 'version' and that 1 version can reach millions of people regardless of their platform preference. They have seen the 'benefits' of Game Pass with their 'Yakuza' franchise of late too...
@gollumb82 true when sega gets brought up everyone instantly thinks of either sonic or persona, but I'd love a new valkyria chronicles instead
What makes me laugh is anytime something good happens with MS, the usual suspects come rolling in to downplay it as hard as possible, just like they did and do with Bethesda news
Do you think they Sega will bring Project Diva to XBOX finally with this deal?
@Widey85 still doesn't sound like it'll change what platforms future Sega games will be played
Agreed! I love Valkyria Chronicles.
@uptownsoul If they're using MS dev platforms and cloud, I'd be very surprised if it isn't easier to dev on PC using them first then port elsewhere - that and any potential xCloud use requiring them to be XSX compatible.
I use Azure and MS dev tools every day for work - while yes they can use Linux boxes / other SDKs it'd be awkward for Azure streaming tech, the entire environment is kinda designed to push you into the MS ecosystem then convert for other use.
Also if they're talking cloud games I've not really seen Sega have much tech of their own so I'd be surprised if they didn't use a lot of the GDK stuff - it's still easily portable to elsewhere, but given no extra work to give it to us why wouldn't they drop it on Xbox too?
Hopefully they call it the Sega Channel, because that is what I intend to call it.
@uptownsoul Time will tell. Try not to worry about it, mate. Everything will be okay
Does this mean guys that more Sega games will come to Xbox?
I'm hoping it's not a cloud game or streaming game, but a grand experience, that will use the cloud to update the world, as we play, or the computing power to raise the assets in a game. Kind of like how bmw made their hybrid engine, a 1.3L 3cylinder hybrid engine, pushes 369hp. Something like that. That doesnt rely on cloud for gaming, but more for performance.
@Ocat i feel a little bit (maybe i'm just hoping) that this is the beginning of Sega and Microsoft seeing how well they are able to work together. if this goes well and bears fruit, who knows?
Seems more like a behind doors business thing that has more to do with Sega building a cloud infrastructure and MMOs, which is a big category for them (remembering PSO2 is console exclusive on XB.) I doubt this has much to do with anything Xbox related for us, at least this generation. Could involve some exclusive title or so, probably an online/cloud/MMO thing, somewhere in the following gen. Also improves the relationship for Game Pass support, but Sega's already been pretty good with that, so I'm not sure there's any bribery needed.
@IronMan30 @Xiovanni Yes, MS helped Sega with Dreamcast (the machines have that shiny Windows CE sticker on the bottom....though....that's also how the DC was so easily hacked and pirated.....), and conversely after Sega pulled the DC, MS did bring them in to assist on the OG Xbox, so Xbox has always been the sort of rough continuation of Sega consoles.
@Widey85 again, Sega will still decide what platforms their future games will be playable on...This arraignment won't change that
@uptownsoul Obviously no one is putting a gun to their heads, but it'll clearly make it easier to port to Xbox in future if they're using the Microsoft stack.
I don't see what's controversial about that? And it'd be a very good thing in my opinion - games should be on as many platforms as possible
@Widey85 I never said anything about the ease or difficulty of porting in the first place...
All I said is that this doesn't change what platforms Sega decides to put their games.
@NEStalgia yeah, I have seen Xbox as more or less the modern day Sega consoles. Only backed by a much larger company, of course.
@uptownsoul Often the primary reason given for Xbox missing out on JRPGs is the cost of porting to a platform that doesn't have as many users in Japan (and to be honest worldwide) - it's just not cost effective compared to Sony or Nintendo consoles.
So while we have got more Sega games in recent years, there's still many we're missing - and so it's not hard to imagine the cost of porting rather than Sony having exclusivity deals for all (as Sony doesn't really trumpet all of them as exclusive which they would if they had a deal).
If they use the MS stack to develop for PC (and many developers do the PC version then customise for consoles) the GDK for that already works on XSX - so you get Xbox as a freebie almost, and can port with the PS SDK for release to PS5.
Given the lack of cost to give us the games in that scenario, I think it would impact what platforms Sega decides to put their games on - a "free" port means any money it makes would be a bonus
Would prefer non-cloud versions of the classic SEGA games developed for the X-Box Series X, perhaps an Arcade Collection? This is great news!
@FriendlyOctopus thanks for being so interested in my comments
@Widey85 thats only assuming the IP/franchises Xbox doesn't currently get...would be made on Azure in the future...
There is no indication that will be happening.
@uptownsoul what can I say, you're an interesting guy.
In exvahnge for this I think more sega games will come to gamepass or maybe sega just used money as leverage, there's a chance persona will come to xbox but maybe only in the form of strikers, for all we know playstation might have a long term deal in place for mainline persona games and nintendo for shin megami games.
Also what do sony use the azure servers for in particular?
@UltimateOtaku91 I think it's to get more game pass games.
But money makes sense hahaha
@uptownsoul There very much is an indication they're going to be utilising Microsoft to improve their development processes - in particular there's a strong suggestion the WFH required by the pandemic is something their current tools don't fit well with (it's something many Japanese companies have struggled with).
You can't seriously be suggesting they'll let some development teams move to the more-secure source control with easy WFH and development and not others?
Firstly with all the hacks happening recently, Microsoft Azure is likely a safer place to keep their source code, and secondly developers will quit if you treat one team better than another when you've got access to the same technology for both
A lot of people are assuming this means cloud streaming or cloud-based services, but they didn't mention that in the article.
If anything, what I get from it is that post-pandemic, remote development is here to stay, and the challenges that developers have encountered is that of multiple people in multiple locations all working in sync. Builds have to be uploaded, shared, etc. before the next department can do their part. With a cloud based development environment, they could possibly work via the cloud and see the live results of everyone working on the project, similar to how it would be if they were all in the same office. I believe this is going to be 100% development, as opposed to hinting at what kind of end products we'll be playing on our consoles.
@UltimateOtaku91 I think Sony would advertise it more if there were specific deals in place - it's always struck me as being more down to the porting cost given Xbox's poor showing in Japan.
Sony seems to use Azure more for the main company at the moment I think - in time Now is supposed to move over to it (perhaps at the point PS5 games join the service, as as silly as it sounds they might use the XSX blades given their closeness to the PS5) but I suspect they're busy testing it and the component shortage isn't helping
@XxEvilAshxX True I think a lot of this is about ways of working, using development tools that can scale and allow WFH etc.
The tweet from Sarah Bond and the 4 keywords that Sega mentioned do suggest there might be at least one experimental MMO / online shared universe or something - I'm probably less enthused about that than the idea Xbox ports become simpler to do (simply because those big ideas often haven't actually been very fun to play)
@SplooshDmg Sony's press release hinted strongly at Now eventually moving to it - which I think makes a lot of sense.
The xCloud XSX blades can mimic a PS5 a lot easier than some Intel-powered AWS servers, so it may very well be they're partnering for the "next-gen" Now
@FriendlyOctopus well I'm glad my comments are so important...usually they're just ignored
@SplooshDmg Yep Samsung was / is the largest provider of chips to Apple, all through the time they were suing each other for billions.
Companies don't have feelings - while you might get the odd founder who behaves in a particular way due to anger / dislike of something, generally any CEO who lets emotion factor in to his decisions gets short shrift from shareholders / directors.
I can quite easily see PS Now and Game Pass xCloud going head-to-head, while both running on the same blades - and Microsoft would ensure a reasonably level playing field as they've been burnt by monopoly accusations previously so often go out of their way to be accommodating to competitors
@SplooshDmg I just love that the whole Xbox team seems to consist of people that actually buy and play video games. Phil, Matt, Sarah, all of them have actually spent their money on video games in their lifetimes. Nintendo's Furukawa once played Golf Story..... Jim Ryan, can't even name the characters in the games he signs off on even when they're the top brand mascots. Shu Yoshida just gave up and bought a Steam Deck and a Series X. But they keep him locked in the basement with the indies they don't care about, after he previously ran the Studios. It's like sending Matt Booty to manage the Forza Horizon radio playlists full time.
@XxEvilAshxX If it were B2B productivity tools only, Sarah Bond and the Xbox team wouldn't really be involved in the announcement, that would all come from MS Enterprise Solutions/Azure team etc, same as the PSN on Azure announcements. There's definitely a consumer-facing piece to this if Xbox Studios is part of the announcement, even if it's that there's a closer partnership (Some sort of Sega version of EA Play that will be made that will be included in GP, etc.)
@IronMan30 With Blast Processing provided by Azure Cloud.
@Widey85 All but a few big, and a few ultra-niche JRPGs, in general, have been selling better worldwide than in Japan of late, anyway, so I'm not sure the Japanese user base is even the most important consideration for porting (unless you're Nintendo, but Nintendo has such a lock on Japan, and by and large Japanese Nintendo gamers buy only Japanese Nintendo games, which is why PS gets any support there at all, otherwise.) Japan's core console games market has really been shrinking other than Nintendo, PC has been growing somewhat, but the masses are all in on mobile gatcha.
Some of it is less about business strategy and more about "tradition." Square, Sega, etc, the big companies, support Xbox. Originally they didn't and there's accounts out there by former OG Xbox leaders about how they'd go to some party and the people at Square they'd been really getting along with and getting a good rapport with would be standing 2 inches away from some Sony execs that seemed to have them on a tether, and they'd pretend they had no idea who the MS people were like they'd never met them before and never talked with them. Back then, Sony had an iron grip over their Japanese partners. Not so much today. But Japan does tradition, and tradition is you support PS. And from that it also means dev teams mostly only have experience with PS. They're also usually smaller, lower budget A or AA studios and have limited funds and scale to add another platform they have little to no experience with. Falcom is a great example, they won't even touch Nintendo, they've always been Sony, their team only knows working with Sony, so they stick with Sony, but they're not against ports to other platforms, just so long as they don't have to do it themselves, thus NIS has been doing Switch ports for them recently. If Someone were to approach Falcom with a good price and tell them they want to port to Xbox, they'd probably greenlight it.
If MS really wanted to push hard on getting Japanese devs onboard to Xbox their focus should be on creating a "push button solution" to get PC games onto Xbox. Most Japanese devs, these days, are already PC devs. Even Falcom is doing PC now. If MS could find a push button solution to say "press this button, get your PC game on Xbox, and we'll automate all the barriers into our ecosystem for you" I think they could easily start getting nearly all J-games by default. Why ignore another market if you already are doing Windows and no more effort is required? They already have a relationship with these devs via Windows, even if the studios really work with Steam/Epic, they already have the MS dev tools, DX, etc going. And MS, seeing what they're doing platform-wide with BC enhancements, has the capability of using the platform to do something like simplifying a PC push. It may be taxing on system performance in involve some "emulation" of pieces of the core Windows tools that are different on console, maybe the games would run better on PS as a result, but I think they could pull it off.
Plus with big Japanese devs like Square and Sega really working close with MS it must certainly send the message to other smaller Japanese studios that working with Xbox isn't taboo or out of touch.
@NEStalgia Yeah that's where the GDK (games development kit) rather than the standard SDK (software development kit) for Xbox / PC really comes to a head now I think.
Phil Spencer and others made a big point at the start of this generation to say the PC and Xbox ecosystems have now been merged, with the Xbox SDK and DirectX SDKs now merged into one GDK.
It was partly getting that ready (and the waiting to include all RDNA2 parts in the Series consoles) that led to the delay in developers getting dev kits - and them getting used to it why often the early 3rd party games had bugs on Xbox we didn't see elsewhere.
MS dev environments now can do so much for you - one click deployment, one click unit testing / load testing, one click testing with other hardware profiles etc. - so combine that with the GDK and I suspect we might finally see many JRPGs that normally hit PC now finally hitting Xbox too.
Or at least my fingers are firmly crossed that'll be the case!
.....did Persona 5 happen to come up during these discussions?
All the pieces are fitting together nicely now , like an expertly played game of Tetris
@Xiovanni not exactly, Sega wanted to partner with them and make the Xbox backwards compatible with Dreamcast games. In the end Sega's next arcade machine the Chihiro was based upon the Xbox for games like Outrun 2.
As for the Dreamcast Microsoft's main involvement was having a version of Windows CE to run several games, though the operating system was only ever on the disc
@The-Chosen-one this is not about making cloud games, this is about virtualized development environment that allows dev teams to work remotely and all over the world.
This might sound at first like standard remote work environments but keep in mind multimedia heavy development can still be a huge challenge for remote teams.
At first, I thought cool, it's like the Sony deal, so no benefit for Xbox, but nice to see SEGA evolving.
But then I saw Sarah Bond is leading the talks for this and she stated on Twitter she looks forward to sharing more info in the future.
So now I'm thinking maybe this is more than sharing Azure tech and could involve some sort of EA Play style deal, where maybe SEGA games come to Game Pass later after release and start to form a library, maybe involving some revivals of older IP that are more suited to Game Pass rather than relying purely on game sales.
@Widey85 you're reading way to mich into this...The reason why Sega doesn't bring games to certain platforms is b/c they don't see selling potential...
Azure doesn't change that calculation...So like I've been saying, where the games are available, likely won't change
You actually have a good point there. 👍
@uptownsoul It's not just Azure, they specifically mention the development environments etc.
Agreed on the selling potential - that'll usually be offset against the cost of porting.
But if they're using the PC GDK for development (very possible given the terms of this deal) then to release digitally on Xbox would be negligible - so therefore it is potentially more likely we'll get future versions of some of the missing series.
I'm not dealing in absolutes - I'm saying it just makes this more likely, potentially, but you're saying definitely not.
If that's just because you don't want me / others who are positive about this news to get our hopes up, that's understandable - if it's just to be negative about the news for other reasons, not so much
@Widey85 I've never been negative on this topic...All I've ever said is that this news won't change where Sega decides to put their existing IP/Franchises...
Now if you're saying Microsoft was gonna help with publishing or developing...thats a different story
Azure is the future. It the new Office monopoly.
To each their own, but for me...**** the cloud.
@SplooshDmg Cheers lol, I suspect even though he's a bit of an "insider" it still won't help change their minds.
However many times we say the development environment being MS will help Xbox (given Microsoft have deliberately made sure the libraries used with PC now mean easy deployment to their consoles too) they won't give an inch.
All we can do is let time prove us correct, as we hopefully start to get access to more JRPGs etc. from Sega that we'd normally miss
Sounds like this is going to be pretty exciting.
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