Sega has announced plans to explore a "strategic alliance" with Xbox to produce "large-scale, global" games built using Microsoft's Azure cloud platform.
The Sonic maker said the agreement would form "a key part of Sega's mid to long-term strategy", which it has dubbed "Super Game". This initiative is designed to develop games "where the key focuses are 'global', 'online', 'community' and 'IP utilisation'", it said today.
Sega first mentioned its "Super Game" project to investors back in May this year, when it dubbed the initiative a "priority strategy" for the next five years.
"We are very pleased to announce today that we are considering a strategic alliance with Microsoft to help develop Sega's new 'Super Game' initiative as well as build a next-generation game development environment," Sega president Yukio Suino commented.
"By considering a strategic partnership with Microsoft, we seek to further advance our game development so that our titles can be enjoyed by fans all over the world; in this regard, we aim to build an alliance that utilises both Sega's powerful game development capabilities and Microsoft's cutting-edge technology and development environment."
Microsoft exec Sarah Bond added: "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."
If Sega's plans for a strategic partnership sound familiar, it's worth remembering the similarly-worded announcement made back in May 2019 between console rivals Microsoft and Sony.
Back then, Microsoft and Sony said they were exploring plans to collaborate on "cloud-based solutions for gaming experiences and content-streaming", which would also leverage Azure.
As with Sony, there's no suggestion Microsoft is getting out its wallet for a takeover bid. Instead, this is about the underlying cloud technology which is expected to drive game development and the future of the medium over the next decade - on which Microsoft is now seen as a global leader.
But a Skies of Arcadia Online? I can dream.