The new PS5 handheld was finally revealed at the latest PlayStation Showcase, and fans aren't happy. For months speculation has mounted and last night Sony shared the design of its handheld, codenamed Project Q, and it was a little underwhelming.
Sony has a long history of trying and failing to dominate the handheld sector as it does the home console market. The PSP did okay, but the follow-up, the PS Vita failed to ignite but did become a piece of cult tech amongst collectors. At a time when the ROG Ally is making headlines and Steam Deck is a success, Sony's PlayStation handheld is just a WiFi streaming device. (See the entire PlayStation Showcase 2023 in our live blog.)
PlayStation president Jim Ryan said at the event: "We will launch a dedicated device that enables you to stream any game from your PS5 console using Remote Play over Wi-Fi. Internally known as ‘Project Q,’ it has an 8-inch HD screen and all of the buttons and features of the DualSense wireless controller."
The handheld device, which will launch later this year, features an LCD screen that displays games at 1080p and 60fps and streams from PS5 over Wi-Fi. It's not a standalone handheld console, which raises questions over who it's for, as you can already Remote Play games to tablets and mobiles, that's why the Backbone One exists.
Fans reacted as expected, with one stating simply "Seriously, THIS is your handheld design?" Another said the event's reveal lurched from "disappointing" to "funny". See the Tweets below, these are just scratching the surface of fan reaction.
The new Sony wifi remote play handheld thing went from "disappointing" to "really funny" in just two shots. Can't even use the controllers like joycons because they're permanently affixed to the screen. pic.twitter.com/K9c4SWqqCbMay 25, 2023
Seriously, THIS is your handheld design?Now Nintendo, don’t fuck this up, and a Switch 2 can clown on both Sony and Microsoft so hard. Both of them appear to have lost the plot. pic.twitter.com/CPiz5kEsWqMay 25, 2023
To play games on Project Q you'll need to first install them on your PS5, which makes it clear this is not a handheld console that can play games natively like a Nintendo Switch or even a retro console like the Evercade EXP.
The new PS5 handheld could simply be the first act in Sony's bid to challenge Microsoft and Nvidia for control of the rising cloud gaming sector. If eventually you'll be able to play games on the Project Q over the cloud, then it could have a broader use.
Sony has yet to reveal the UI this PlayStation 5 handheld uses, but I would expect this will likely be similar to PS5 and connect the two perfectly, which is not the quite the case currently with Remote Play.
Yet, months of PS5 handheld rumours and years of winning over fans with the design of PS5 and the best PlayStation 5 accessories it feels like Project Q could be Sony's first misstep. But time will tell if Sony has gauged where the future of gaming is going. The danger for Sony is Nintendo could leap ahead, a rumoured Nintendo Switch Pro could be released next year. Cloud gaming could be the next big 'console war'.
While you wait for Sony to get its act together you can actually stream PS5 games right now using Remote Play to your tablet or smart phone. Read our guides to the best iPad for gaming and the best Android tablets for more.