Teaser image for Sony PlayStation's Project Q
(Sony)

PlayStation Just Announced Its First Handheld Device In Ages but Don’t Get Too Excited Just Yet

The ever-blossoming popularity of the Nintendo Switch has proven that handheld consoles are still very much “in.” Valve continued the trend of high-powered handhelds last year with the Steam Deck. If Sony was business-savvy, it was only a matter of time before a PlayStation handheld was announced. The announcement finally dropped during the 2023 PlayStation Showcase, when Sony revealed “Project Q” (which is not the official title, just an internal name).

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But before you get excited about taking your PS5 games on the road … there are a few catches. Jim Ryan (the “respect each others’ views on abortion, it’s my cats’ birthday” man) prefaced the announcement by saying that “innovation is our passion.” He then describes Project Q as “a dedicated device that enables you to stream any game from your PS5 console using remote play over wifi.”

So, for one, it’s not an independent console. You need a PlayStation 5, too. And it’s cloud-based and wifi-dependent. Plus, the way Ryan describes Project Q—”remote play over wifi”—sounds like you can only use it in the proximity of your PS5. With the PS5 actively turned on, even. I hope I’m wrong. Because if you can’t use it on the go, or independently from the “main computer” in any way, doesn’t that defy the best features of a handheld device?

Also, it’s a screen between two halves of a PS5 controller. It’s like Sony’s designers said, “Let’s make the Switch, but make the controllers our controllers!” Which … okay?

Still, what makes this significant is that Project Q will mark Sony’s first foray into handheld devices in a decade. Its first handheld, 2005’s PSP (PlayStation Portable), was impressive and still beloved. Its follow-up, the PS Vita, was released in 2011 / 2012 and not nearly as beloved. As a result of its underwhelming sales (and Nintendo’s continued dominance with the hybrid Switch), Sony seemingly abandoned handhelds. Until now.

In the same segment, Sony also announced the first-ever PlayStation headphones, which are earbuds. Considering that Sony makes headphones in other departments of its giant company, it’s rather wild that this has never happened until now. Ryan basically just said they’ll be “immersive.”

More details have yet to be announced, but Project Q is ostensibly coming our way later this year. We’re certain to get more details in the coming months. Hopefully, it will be more exciting than Ryan’s presentation made it seem. But the more I think about this, the less appealing it sounds. Based solely on its apparent complete lack of independence, maybe don’t get your hopes up.

(Featured image: Sony)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.