Disclosure: Some links on this page are monetized by the Skimlinks, Amazon, Rakuten Advertising, and eBay, affiliate programs. All prices are subject to change, and this article only reflects the prices available at time of publication.
Sony hasn’t offered a handheld game console since the company discontinued the PlayStation Vita in 2019. It was already looking pretty long in the tooth at that point, having been first been released seven years earlier.
Now there are reports that Sony could planning to launch a new handheld. But it’s not exactly a direct descendent of the PS Vita. According to a report from Insider Gaming, Sony’s next handheld won’t be a standalone game console at all. Instead, it’s expected to be a device that lets you stream games from a PlayStation 5 connected to your network. Update (5-24-2023): It sounds like that report was spot on, because Sony has unveiled a new 8 inch handheld designed for PS5 Remote Play. It’s called Project Q, and it’s coming later this year.
Insider Gaming says the handheld is code-named “Q Lite” and that it will have an 8 inch display surrounded by game controllers that are similar to those for a PS5. It should support adaptive triggers with haptic feedback, speakers, an audio jack, and support for game streaming at resolutions up to 1080p at 60 frames per second.
The idea is that you’ll be able to use it with Sony’s PlayStation Remote Play service to stream games from your console to the handheld without tethering yourself to the room where your PS4 or PS5 and big-screen display are located. It’s not designed to run games natively – it’s only for streaming games from a PlayStation, making it more of a PlayStation accessory than a new PlayStation console.
In other words, the Q Lite is more Logitech G Cloud than Steam Deck.
Except that Logitech’s handheld runs Android, supports native Android apps and games, and is designed to work with cloud gaming services like Amazon Luna, NVIDIA GeForce Now and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Sony’s PlayStation, on the other hand, is designed to let you stream games you own from a PlayStation console you own… there’s no cloud server or subscription involved.
Keep in mind that Sony hasn’t actually confirmed that it’s working on a new handheld yet. So there’s a chance that these rumors are all bunk… or that they’re true for now, but could change by the time Sony is ready to release the Q Lite (or whatever it’s actually called) in the coming year.
They could make a portable PS5. Running the same SoC on a very low power profile, and with extra cooling on a docking station in order to run fullspeed.
I have zero interest in this as a streaming only device and think any number of other options would be better. I don’t know where the typical consumer is at, but any of the following would immediately be more attractive than a PSN-locked streaming device:
1) Release it as a phone with detachable controller that can play Vita and below natively. I am still shocked that no one has done this. Imagine a pocketable game console you can finance as part of your wireless contract. You don’t even have to skimp on ARM processing power like Nintendo at that point. People would be happy to buy it for $600 and up as long as it only becomes a $17/month expense when they’re ready for a new phone.
2) Release it as an x86 handheld for about the same price as a Switch, but keep native PS4 functionality with HDMI out. Slash the price of Vita and below on the PSN store and/or include it as part of PS plus. Let people own games again, or else provide them a cheap legit way to play them natively without hassle. Worldwide broadband access is increasing, but there’s a lot of market share up for grabs in places where a PS5 or streaming quality internet is out of reach but a family or individual would love a convertible console with a huge back library. They’d likely have to sell it at a loss like Valve at first, but they’re already committed to this weird dual PS4/PS5 support model for at least the next 3-4 years, so why not lean into that?
3) Make it streaming only, but price it at $150 and below. Eat the difference and make up the money in software sales and subscriptions. I’m sure there is a small section of PS4/PS5 owners that would pay $200-$300 for something they can essentially only use at home or over fast wifi/cellular, but if you’re going to make it an accessory that requires at minimum a $300 living room box locked in a single ecosystem, then it’s already set up for failure. At minimum, consider unlocking it for other in-home streaming services (Steam especially) or allow it access to PS3 and below PS+ streaming over internet.
Despite current market trends, I sincerely think Sony is better off making a native console with streaming functionality. They would make more money off their Vita back catalogue especially if they didn’t just surrender it wholesale to pirates and priced it reasonably on a new platform.
There’s not enough interest and demand for PlayStation games from PS1, PSP, PS2, and PS Vita. So your device is doomed to fail.
The PS3 is another story. But very difficult to get working on a different device.
The PS4 chapter is closing, as the mainstream transition to PS5 is nearly complete. I can see a Valve SteamDeck built by Sony to only natively play PS4 games, but the battery life is going to be a joke.
As much as I hate to admit it, their best move is Cloud Gaming. With faster Fiber/Wifi and 5G networks it becomes plausible. And it doesn’t cause fragmentation of their ecosystem. It brings in more money via subscription. And it’s not as demanding on battery life.
They can release a tablet that does native streaming inside the house, but I wouldn’t call that a handheld. That’s a console accessory.
It make good frisbee
If it’s just a PS5 remote play client, then I’d pay up to $50 USD for it.
I’m sure they’re not dumb enough to have it not connect to the ps5 over bluetooth or whatever the ps5 controller normally uses too. And given that the ps5 controller is (checks newegg) $80 (geez that’s a lot), I’d expect it to cost no less than $125 just due to all the other stuff they’d have to cram in it. I wouldn’t want to pay more than $150 though, especially if you can already just use a phone controller and your phone.
So if it’s just for PS5 remote play, then it’s just an extension/accessory for the PS5 almost but not quite similar to the Wii U controller. Remote play was a feature included in the PSP and Vita earlier
It’s kind of too-late for Sony to enter the handheld market.
I don’t believe the rumours. But if they HAD to do something, it makes sense they do it like this:
make a phenomenal Sony Xperia 1/5 mk V phone
new design moves the buttons and ports around the phone. Top and bottom metal sides have a “rail” design and internal pogo pins
produce the “PlayStation Slide” where it’s two small controllers like the Razer JungleCat that can slide into the pogo pins/rail of the phone
sell them for USD $99 but each unit comes with 1-Year access to PS Premium to do Cloud Streaming to your phone either from 5G or Wifi
make sure the phones are competitive and priced great, try to sell over 10 Million units. Initial pre-order comes with a bonus PS-Slide and XM5 Earphones.
the idea is that you don’t fragment the ecosystem, all PS5 games work on the hardware either on your TV (PS5) or in your hands (PS Slide). Handhelds currently aren’t powerful enough to do PS5 games, so this is the only viable (although compromised) solution.
If they did a dedicated hardware now, at best we’re talking XsS level gaming in a large portable form. And at worst it’s a small pocketable form with performance closer to the XB1. Both are a huge generational gap difference from the Home Console, which becomes a problem for developers and consumers. Basically you get developers who are frustrated with the limitations, and you get consumers frustrated with the quality of the games or their exclusions.
Yes, I hate Cloud Gaming like the next guy but this is basically their best option at this point. If they wanted to make something compelling, or perfect, that would’ve required almost a decade prior planning.
For example; they released in 2020 the PS5 and PSP. Where the PS5 is built for economy (TSMC 8nm) whilst PSP has cutting edge technology (TSMC 5nm), and they both share the same software and same technology with the difference being in the degree of silicon, power, and cooling. The idea being that developers need to build a game once which will run on both platforms, and is mandatory for the licence terms. Win-win scenario.
– Eg 1A/ Slim Pocketable PSP, for 720p60 gaming, using 8W, with 8×2.4GHz Cortex-A78 and 24×0.8GHz Mali-G78 and 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB UFS 3.1 storage.
– Eg 1B/ Equivalent Home Console PS5, for 2160p120 gaming, using 200W, with 8×3.6GHz Cortex-X1 and 256×1.4GHz Mali-G78 and 32GB DDR5 RAM and 1TB nVme storage.
– Eg 2A/ Thick Portable PS Vita, for 720p60 gaming, using 16W, with 8×2.5GHz Zen3 cores and 8×1.5GHz RDNA-2 and 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB nVme storage.
– Eg 2B/ Equivalent Home Console PS5 for 2160p120 gaming, using 300W, with 8×4.0GHz Zen3 cores and 64×3.0GHz RDNA-2 and 32GB DDR5 RAM and 1TB nVme storage.
But I digress…. Cloud Gaming is the way forward now, especially if it fits neatly in your pocket. The problem will be fast-paced games such as: Tekken 8 Fighting, Call of Duty Shooters, Gran Turismo 7 Racing, especially when competing in Online Matches. But it’s fine for slow-paced games like Turn-Based, RPG, Exploration, and Cinematic Stories. The middle gray zone are Singleplayer games that have lots of action (eg CP2077) which occasionally lags and stutters if streamed.
Really? so you think Xbox Series S is a huge gap from their “big” brother. Did you ever see it running current gen games? you would never tell the difference from 1.5m away from your TV. I know because I’ve seen it.
I am really disappointed to see there is still people in the world who thinks a console like a Xbox Series S isn’t enough to create wonderful and impressive games.
I do not own any current gen console, but I understand the mechanics and I do not allow myself to be lied by marketing, that’s all.
Maybe someday Sony will understand and they will release a PS5 for 1080p players.
I don’t think you understood my comment.
The fastest/best Sony can muster up now, is to make it about on-par with the XsS, but it will have to be “portable” size like the Valve Steam Deck. I guess its possible, but its not a refined situation and will fragment their ecosystem.
As a reference, look at Microsoft. The XsS runs games BETTER than the XsX, with the caveat being that the former is for 1080p60 and the latter is for 2160p60. The gap between them is almost x4 in fidelity, with everything else being on-parity. They were designed like that purposely. It works great, and I think every XB1, XB1S, and XB1X owners should switch to the XsS asap. Even if the graphics aren’t better, the newer software and hardware will at least support the new-gen games. For those with more money, the XsX is the way to go. It’s a great strategy and it’s working well for them, because they planned it so. Their biggest drawback is the lack of exclusive games and variety (eg No Pokemon, No GoW).
So what I was trying to say is that if Sony wants to do handhelds, they should have planned and lead with that. Do a tactic where both ecosystems play the same games, and force developers to do so. The caveat being one is for 720p-1080p/30-60fps/Med-High Settings, whilst the other is for 1440p-2160p/60-120fps/High-Very High Settings. The gap being x16 between handheld versus Home Console.
To achieve this, I wrote a specifications list. One for following ARM (smaller handheld/slower Home) and another for x86 (larger handheld/faster Home). Obviously hindsight is 20/20.
So instead, Sony’s best course of action at the moment is to follow my other comment. Release a “PSP-Phone” by having a great Xperia Flagship, Attachable JoyCons, and Cloud Streaming. That way your game progress between the PS5 and the PSP-Phone will be seamless. No fragmentation. Easy for developers to grasp and deploy. But obvious issues with latency, bandwidth, and other limitations.
Asinine. I keep trying to write more to make a better comment but I can’t, because that’s all I have to say. This is asinine.
Calling it just asinine is fine. Nevertheless I’m hoping that it’s an incorrect report.
…I don’t think that idea will sell very well and it’ll beg the question of “why do this at all instead of just making a phone app like you already did”. As it is the world is drowning in a zillion models of similarly shaped handhelds that all do the same stuff, with the range of old games it can run being the most distinct categorization scheme. So we’ve got slabs that can stream and emulate 2d consoles, slabs that can stream and emulate everything except PC games and ps3/xbox360+ games, and slabs that can stream, emulate, and play PC games.
Honestly, it’s kind of sad. Because it’s like handhelds are turning into indistinct appliances. Everything available now is better than everything that came before, but deciding on one of these products is entirely about meticulously tallying specs vs what you can afford, and there’s always something to make you feel like you made the wrong choice. That’s a bit ironic, in that as the shapes converge to an optimum, we now have a zillion wrong answers instead of two or three equally valid ones (validated mostly by system specific libraries).
But as far as wrong answers go, this is one of the worst! It can only stream games from your PS5. Making it more of a controller than a console. Any phone or PC can (probably? it sounds like it) can do what it does. It might even make more sense to make a playstation controller for phones that can also be used stand alone with the console or a PC and be done with it. It’d be a more obvious admission of giving up on handhelds, but it’s not hard to see that in this if you think about it a little.
Let’s stop calling it a handheld and start calling it what it actually is: an overglorified PS5 controller. From what I’ve read it’s basically just a Wii U Gamepad with better range. Completely useless and pointless in this day an age when you can just use the app on your phone with a controller or with any of the many Android and PC handhelds littering the market.