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Sony: There is "no scenario where the PlayStation and Xbox platforms combine"

PlayStation's Jim Ryan insists that Sony's new partnership with Microsoft will only go so far

There will be limits to how closely Sony and Microsoft will be partners, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has said -- and that line will be drawn before the PlayStation and Xbox brands are mixed.

Speaking to The Financial Times, Ryan was asked about the partnership Sony and Microsoft formed earlier this month, which will cover growth areas like cloud gaming and AI.

However, while Ryan has previously stated that this closer relationship between old rivals was in part a response to new competitors like Google, he insisted that the two companies' gaming brands will always remain distinct.

"There is to my knowledge... no scenario where the PlayStation and Xbox platforms combine," he said. "The two platforms will remain separate, with their separate identities and brands and fans."

Historically, this stance would be a given, but the landscape of the games business is changing. Microsoft, in particular, has been steadily knocking down the walls around the Xbox brand, pushing its Xbox Live service out to both mobile and Nintendo Switch.

Microsoft's current trajectory certainly wouldn't rule out a desire to see Xbox products on PlayStation, too, given enough time. However, Ryan has made it clear that Sony has no interest in that kind of synergy taking place.

Instead, Sony's main focus for the coming years will be ensuring the smoothest possible transition between PlayStation 4 and the next generation of hardware. In a "networked world," Ryan told the FT, the emphasis must be on ensuring that the army of PS4 users stays with PlayStation.

"When everything is networked and everybody is connected and everybody is friends, the opportunity -- with backwards compatibility -- to migrate that community in a more efficient manner I think is massively more attractive for gamers and for us than at any point in the past," he said.

This is also the will of the industry's big publishers, who are increasingly reliant on service-based games that they hope will transcend console generations. Ubisoft recently made this point about Rainbow Six Siege, expressing a reluctance to make a next-gen "sequel" or even force existing players to buy the game again for new hardware.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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