Posted on: May 26, 2023 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

For months, the PlayStation community has been speculating that Sony might be preparing to introduce a new handheld device to finally follow up on the PlayStation Vita, and at PlayStation Showcase on Wednesday, we got confirmation of what that device really is: Project Q. Unlike the Vita, Project Q won’t be able to play native games installed on the system, instead requiring a working PlayStation 5 to connect via Wi-Fi to remotely play games that are installed on that console.

We don’t know the price of Project Q, the release date, or even what the actual official name of this device will be, but I ask myself the same question over and over again: Who is the target audience for this device? device?

More ways to enjoy PlayStation is never a bad thing

Sony has been leaning towards remote play functionality for years, originally allowing a PlayStation console to connect to a PSP or Vita to access games. Over time, this was extended to a wide variety of smartphones and even Windows PCs and Mac computers. Sony made it easy to enjoy its titles on a smartphone thanks to the iOS edition of the Backbone One controller, and only 24 Hours before this showcase, the company released an Android edition of the device.

Clearly, Sony doesn’t just want to dominate the living room: they want you to be able to play games almost anywhere, something that the Nintendo Switch and Xbox’s Cloud Gaming already offer quite successfully. It’s a smart move to stay competitive, but does it make sense to launch a dedicated streaming stick when Remote Play is already possible on a smartphone?

The answer to that, of course, is that not everyone has a smartphone. And certainly not everyone can afford a smartphone. For large families fighting over multiple TVs in the living room, the Project Q could be a lifesaver. Instead of dividing time between games, movies, live sports, or whatever else a family member wants to watch, the power can be given back to gamers to access their games at any time. It’s exactly the same strategy that Nintendo pursued with the Wii U Gamepad.

The truth is that I can see a market for this. I don’t think I’m the traditional PlayStation gamer or someone who organizes their home around the consoles they play (I have two TVs in my living room, with a splitter connected to the PS5, Xbox and Switch so I can swap out the screen for each console with the push of a button).

So I’m not the one to buy this. But I’m not going to pretend that demographic doesn’t exist, I’m just not sure it’s a big enough market to drive sales of this device in the way Sony hopes.

After all, there has been virtually no remote option that works better than playing a game natively when downloaded to a console.

Project Q, a new portable device from Sony

Can game streaming be a viable option?

I’m a big fan of dedicated gaming controllers, and the fact that Project Q includes fully functional DualSense controllers with haptics definitely appeals to me. But my experience with streaming AAA video games, even over a gigabit internet connection, is that you’re going to get lag and frame rate drops.

For many games this won’t be that important – I don’t see anyone being upset that they can play The last of us either ghost of tsushima while sitting on the toilet. But there are games and moments that streaming just doesn’t lend itself well to. Any type of quick time event becomes much more difficult when there is even a slight delay in check-in. As for online games? I’m curious to see if Project Q will be a viable option. If it works perfectly and players can access Supervision, Fortnite, and any version of Factions of The Last of Us Part II eventually we’ll see, that’s a big win.

But I’m not convinced that the US internet infrastructure is stable enough to support it. Maybe this works great in other parts of the world, but we need to see fundamental updates before accessing games via Remote Play can become a full-time option.

And the cost? In a world where remote play is already possible via smartphone, what motivation would anyone have to shell out the extra money for a device like this? Project Q was announced alongside the new PlayStation headset, which still doesn’t have an MSRP, and PlayStation VR2 launched earlier this year for $549. Sony makes amazing games and great consoles, but its peripherals cost too much for the person to average can keep up.

Perhaps we’ll see the Project Q launch at $299 in an attempt to compete with the Nintendo Switch, but history has shown that the price is likely to be more than this. Unless there’s a way to ensure that the Wi-Fi connection between the PS5 and the Project Q is more responsive than what we currently get with a smartphone, it’s going to be a tough sell right off the bat.

Project Q is a risk for Sony. Will be worth?

People love to play their games on the go, there’s no doubt about that. But we need a closer look at the actual technology at play to see what Project Q is doing differently compared to what we’ve seen on the Vita and smartphone Remote Play options. Will this be a success or not? Only time will tell, but the price will be the most important factor that will motivate people who take care of their families to invest in this device.

I’m sure it will sell well, Sony accessories usually do; I just hope it provides a valuable gaming experience that makes the PS5 even more accessible than before. If you can do that and run games with minimal lag on a beautiful display, I’ll be much more inclined to become an early adopter of this technology.

A PS Vita remote connected to a PlayStation console

I would have preferred a new dedicated handheld as a true successor to the Vita, especially since there are millions of PlayStation gamers, like me, who never entered the ecosystem until the Vita went out of support. Project Q could prove to be a viable stopgap between the Vita and whatever comes next, but if they don’t make the landing, it could affect the future of any portable plans Sony may have in mind.

I hope Project Q is a huge success and delivers on everything it sets out to achieve, but I’m not convinced this is the device PlayStation fans have been waiting for. But if I’m wrong? I’ll be the first to open my wallet when the release date for Project Q rolls around.

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