What is Sony’s Project Q PS5 streaming handheld really for?

It would have been nice to spice up the summer console rollout with a bit of a hardware reveal, but Sony revealed Project Q . Handset in PlayStation Showcase on Wednesday is one of the more scratchy.

Project Q is an 8-inch device that lets you play PlayStation 5 games using Sony’s Remote Play system, streaming them from your PS5 over Wi-Fi “when you’re away from the TV,” in a way said by the emancipation press. It looks like a DualSense controller is cut in half and attached to either end of the Switch’s middle section.

This is what it’s not: a true handheld console or a cloud gaming device. Games are run locally on your PS5, and without a cellular connection, Project Q won’t work on the go, unless the plane or train you’re traveling on happens to have an extremely strong Wi-Fi connection or you invest in 5G hub on a good network. (Sony says Project Q requires “at least 5 Mbps” to use, with a “better playing experience” requiring at least 15 Mbps.) Games must also be installed on the PS5, which excludes use. Use Project Q with cloud gaming services that are part of Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service.

Really, Project Q is meant to give you access to PS5 games around the house — while the TV is in use or when you’re going to bed. Or it’s likely to work well when staying with family or vacationing at an Airbnb.

This is what Remote Play does — and actually has been for a very long time. This feature debuted with the PlayStation 3 back in 2006, initially only working with the PlayStation Portable and later Vita handhelds. Over time, support has been extended to other Sony devices, then Windows and Mac PCs, and finally Android and iOS mobile devices in 2019. It’s not too difficult to set up on a computer. laptop, phone, or iPad paired with a PlayStation controller, and it can come in very handy. But it was never widely used.

So the questions are: What does Project Q bring? And why is Sony investing in Remote Play with a dedicated device after 17 years?

The appeal of a dedicated device is easy enough to understand: The handheld console’s form factor is more comfortable in most situations than a separate controller and small screen. Project Q offers this comfort, and as a full-fledged single-use PlayStation device, it will work more smoothly than any other Remote Play solution. (You can make Remote Play work on the Steam Deck, but it will take quite a bit.) Unlike third-party devices or controllers, it offers all the features of DualSense, including includes adaptive triggers and good haptic feedback. The display’s 1080p resolution would certainly be good enough for its size, although an OLED panel like the flagship Switch would be great, rather than the LCD display Sony is offering.

The point of Project Q, is probably that it will provide the ideal, uncompromising Remote Play solution around the house, with the greatest ease of use. But what it won’t do is offer more than that, and it is doubling down on what other devices you own can do. There’s even an officially licensed PlayStation version of the Backbone mobile game controller and its Android version. was announced days ago Project Q was. It may not have DualSense features, but it has the advantage of being able to make Remote Play truly portable, if your mobile data plan and service can accommodate its data needs.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Project Q is that Sony doesn’t extend its ability to stream games from the cloud so it can work independently of the PS5. Streaming through the cloud doesn’t require huge processing power — just the connectivity and video codec that Project Q should theoretically have. Perhaps Sony can’t make it work well enough for the cost – but again, perhaps investing a little more and risking a higher price tag might be worth it to increase the utility of the device and to prove it. it in the future.

The existence of Project Q shows that Sony is aware that gaming needs to be more relevant to people’s lives; become more flexible and less tied to the big electronic brick under your desk or TV. The huge success of Nintendo’s Switch proves it, and Microsoft and others are betting that this desire means gaming will eventually follow other entertainment mediums into the realm of cloud streaming. .

In fact, Sony was an early investor in cloud gaming technology. It bought the Gaikai platform for $380 million in 2012 to build the PlayStation Now service, but never seem to know what to do with it. The reality is that the cloud doesn’t fit comfortably into Sony’s business model, culture, or values. Sony is an entertainment giant built on the foundations of an old-fashioned consumer electronics maker, and many of the people in power there are engineers who excel at making gadgets or homes. marketers (like PlayStation boss Jim Ryan) who excel at getting them in boxes and selling them.

Well, now engineers have another gadget to create and marketers have another box to sell. But the box doesn’t have much in it. As a way to make the advantages of Remote Play more accessible and marketable, Project Q makes sense, in an appropriate way. But as a response to the game’s rapidly changing future, it’s a bit dated.


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