GameStop and Microsoft are joining forces to bring the Azure cloud computing platform into retail stores for customers and employees, GameStop announced today.
Using smartphones and Windows tablets, customers will be able to view trailers and other promotional materials. GameStop's sales associates will provide a "personalized shopping experience" based on its customers' history. Azure will also power trailers streaming to 4K televisions in GameStop stores and an in-store shopping cart for customers.
"Microsoft has always been a fantastic and innovative company for GameStop to collaborate with, both in the technology space as well as with their video game consoles and titles," said Jeff Donaldson, senior vice president of GameStop Technology Institute. "We are continuing to work closely with them to discover and aggressively elevate ways to enhance the retail experience for our customers today and in the future."
Azure technology isn't limited to retail applications, as Microsoft has demonstrated in the last few years. One of the major selling points for Xbox One was its use of Microsoft's cloud technology, for example.
In February 2014, Microsoft's board of directors named Satya Nadella as its new CEO. Nadella formerly oversaw the Cloud and Enterprise Group, which developed technologies like Azure. Last July, in a letter outlining Microsoft's strategies, Nadella bolstered the future of the Xbox division and tied its future in part to Azure.
"We also benefit from many technologies flowing from our gaming efforts into our productivity efforts — core graphics and NUI in Windows, speech recognition in Skype, camera technology in Kinect for Windows, Azure cloud enhancements for GPU simulation and many more," Nadella wrote. "Bottom line, we will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft."
A report from late last year claimed that Microsoft is building a cloud-based service called "Arcadia" to stream apps and games, powered by Azure technology.