Sega and Microsoft Partner to Create “Super Game” on Azure

Published · Nov 06, 2021

Veteran videogame company Sega has announced a “strategic alliance” with Microsoft. The partnership will see Sega using the Azure platform in its game development process. Details are scarce for the time being, but there’s a good indication of what general direction the endeavor could take.

Sega is one of the oldest brands in gaming, with its roots in the slot machines of the 1940s. It was at the forefront of the boom of cartridge home video game consoles along with Nintendo.

Now it’s gearing up to get in on cloud gaming. While game server hosting has been around for years, cloud gaming has been struggling to find its feet.

Microsoft Azure, a renowned cloud computing service, is not the first major cloud provider to get into gaming. Google released its Stadia platform to an extremely lukewarm response. Stadia lets users stream video games—something most people’s internet can’t handle yet.

Amazon had far greater success with New World. It took a more conventional route of creating an MMO and hosting it on its servers. There were some growing pains, with players reportedly waiting hours to get into the game due to crowded servers.

It might seem surprising that one of the foremost hosting providers in the world miscalculated potential traffic, but Amazon Games is a fresh face in gaming. Microsoft and Sega, on the other hand, are seasoned veterans.

New Frontier

So what will this partnership produce?

Sega and Microsoft haven’t given much away. However, looking at Sega’s statements and the current trends in gaming, a good guess is possible. The initiative is called “Super Game.” According to Saga, its focus keywords are “Global,” “Online,” “Community,” and “IP utilization.”

The first three words essentially suggest the same thing. The new game or games will have a major online component involving some interaction between players. The last one, IP utilization, indicates that Sega will use its existing properties—Sonic, Yakuza, Persona, etc.—instead of coming up with something new.

It looks like Sega is playing it safe in terms of content. A familiar IP is guaranteed to draw existing fanbases. The online component is ripe for in-game monetization, which has exploded as more studios adopt a “live service” model for their games. In that regard, Sega won’t be doing anything new.

The innovation comes from the use of Azure in its development process. Using cloud to develop games could reshape the process. Should it succeed, the rest of the industry will be quick to adopt it.

Garan van Rensburg
Garan van Rensburg

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.