Sony may be working on a new PlayStation portable device codenamed "Q Lite"
It doesn't sound like a Switch killer or a Steam Deck alternativeBy Adrian Potoroaca
Rumor mill: Back in 2017, Sony said it saw no reason to develop another handheld console given the dominance of smartphones as mobile gaming devices. It's unlikely the company has had a change of heart on the matter, but some fresh rumors point to some sort of PlayStation handheld. Unfortunately for fans of the PSP/PS Vita, it sounds like it would simply be an accessory for PlayStation 5 owners.
Sony's PlayStation 5 console has been a resounding success, so much so that it turned the Japanese company into AMD's biggest customer in a few short years. Its popularity didn't help sell as many PSVR 2 headsets as the tech giant had hoped, but that's more of a timing problem and a reflection of a slowing VR market.
Lately, the rumor mill has been abuzz with hints about a PlayStation 5 with a detachable disc drive that could launch later this year as well as an upgraded PlayStation 5 Pro model that could leverage the RDNA 3 architecture for better ray tracing performance. The latter device is likely more than a year away from an official announcement, but it's also not the only new console cooking in Sony's labs.
According to a report from Insider Gaming, Sony wants to make a handheld console after years of neglecting this market segment. However, those of you hoping for a successor to the PS Vita will likely be disappointed to hear it's anything but.
PlayStation handheld concept by Andrea Gallarini and Nicola Pezzotti
The new portable console --- dubbed "Project Q Lite" --- is supposed to be more of an accessory for PlayStation 5 owners who would also be interested in playing the same games outside the home. Instead of running games natively like a Steam Deck or the upcoming Asus ROG Ally PC, it will leverage Sony's Remote Play feature to stream games from a PS4 or PS5 console over the Internet.
Early prototypes are said to look and feel a lot like a larger DualSense controller with an 8-inch 1080p (60 Hz) LCD touchscreen display. On paper, the device seems large enough to house some decent internals but the report suggests Sony isn't interested in a true spiritual successor to the PS Vita.
We can make at least two observations from all this. On one hand, these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt as Sony has previously said it isn't interested in making any more portable consoles after pulling out from what it believes to be a small and unlucrative market. On the other hand, launching a device that is locked inside the Sony ecosystem and depends on a PlayStation 5 as well as a strong and uninterrupted Internet connection to work sounds like an idea doomed to fail.
Suppose for a second that Sony would allow you to play its games natively on this mysterious handheld, similar to the Nintendo Switch. Given the chip and component shortage isn't quite over yet, the company is likely to price it high just like it did with the PSVR 2 headsets, and it would compete with the Steam Deck (which starts at $399/€419/£419) and its many clones, as well as Android-based cloud gaming handhelds like the Razer Edge (which starts at $400).
Insider Gaming says the Q Lite handheld is scheduled to launch later this year, so we won't have to wait long to see if the rumors are true. Would you be interested in a PlayStation handheld? Let us know in the comments.
Masthead credit: Aleks Dorohovich