Sony officially unveils baffling "PlayStation Portal" handheld

Originally published at: Sony officially unveils baffling "PlayStation Portal" handheld | Boing Boing

It also comes with a $200 USD price tag, making it probably the most expensive piece of on-the-toilet entertainment you’ll ever buy.

Considering you need the PS5 maybe? But most phones and tablets are well over $200.
Don’t lie, you all surf BB while in the potty.


Particularly baffling:

“games that are streamed through PlayStation Plus Premium’s cloud streaming, are not supported.”

I heard you like streaming games so much you paid $200 for a device that does nothing but stream games; so our game streaming service is unsupported.

Unless they really messed something up I assume that the experience is better than running their existing streaming app on a random tablet with whatever chintzy clip-on controllers; but it’s a fairly narrow use case to hang a $200 price tag on(and, at the same time, probably a price tag that’s not readily adjusted down without making untenable sacrifices to screen or controller quality; it’s right at that ugly point where you could make it twice as powerful for a pittance more; but probably don’t have great options if you want to just make it a bit cheaper); which seems like a situation where you’d be eager to tack on easy wins that slightly broaden its utility; like supporting streaming from your other streaming mechanism.

The other…curious…decision is that the device does not appear to be capable of functioning as a local controller for a PS5 being used in non-streaming mode; which seems like it would have been a very cheap add that could have pushed the device from a standalone “should I pay $200 for this?” to a “it’s already $70 for a dualshock; do I want the fun extra features?” decision for anyone in the market for a controller.


Other than being actual PS5 controllers, they aren’t doing anything here that you can’t already do with your phone and a backbone or similar snap-the-phone-in controllers, for less money. The screen is a little bigger, but your phone’s is almost certainly better…and it can do other stuff too. Like actually run games locally


I mean, its a cheap android tablet with a nice display and a nice controller. I doubt it will be long before this gets jailbroken and running the usual suite of emulators, which is nice.
But yeah, I can’t see it as being a big seller. Sony’s last couple of portable consoles supported remote play, and I don’t recall it being a killer app.

If they were streaming games centrally and subsidizing the platform, I could see what they were getting at, but this seems half baked.


Looking at it a bit more, it strongly resembles the rumored Microsoft ‘Game pass console’ people were talking about. Is it possible that this is Sony’s response to that phantom?


Sort of, but portable, which as others have pointed out, only works on local wifi - the same Wi-Fi network that your PS5 has to be on.

Microsoft’s was stationary and had a wired ethernet port to squeeze out a little extra bandwidth, in addition to having wireless. It also streamed directly from Microsoft servers and didn’t require you to also have a PS5. This only streams games that you own from own PS5, while Microsoft’s option streamed directly from Microsoft servers with a game Pass subscription.

Microsoft (I believe wisely), decided to leave it on Phil’s shelf because the infrastructure just ain’t there yet. I imagine that most of the games that I like would play in some barely acceptable way, since they tend not to be twitchy shooters, or fighting games, but a lot of popular games are going to play terribly, especially online play.

It seems really weird that Sony is doing this after everyone else has basically put their streaming plans on hold indefinitely or cancelled them completely.

I’m also guessing that they are going to run into sort of the opposite problem that Nintendo ran into with the Wii-U. Low information consumers (normal people) incorrectly thought that the Wii-U was some kind of add-on or something for the weed that they didn’t need to buy. I can see customers buying this thinking that it’s an actual portable game device, being very unhappy that it’s not, and returning it.

Also, seems dumb that you’re really going to have to have this thing plugged in to power to play for any length of time - I cannot imagine that the battery life is great in actual use


Its pretty disappointing it’s not a next gen PSP type device, i really liked the PSP and its potential. Just a glorified PS5 streaming gadget is the most boring thing they could have done and i’m not sure who this is for.


Remember how everyone loved the Wii U? Well we’ve brought that excitment back in Sony flavor with the Playstation Q! Ignore the fact it rhymes and looks almost identical. Please.

This. I got a backbone for $80, and it works on the Playstation Cloud / Remote and XBox Cloud/Remote. Why would I want something platform specific that costs more?

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So they basically resurrected the Wii U?

The flexibility the Switch has given me makes this device almost enticing. Having a main TV to play games on is great, but being able to walk off with a game when my family takes over is even better. But the Switch does that by default while costing less than just the PS5 by itself. This seems like a botched execution of an already proven concept.


I really can’t understand how Sony thinks this thing is a good idea. If it had been a Switch-like device I could have seen it working. But by being tied to another console I feel like the whole idea is dead in the water.

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Nope! Not even that, as far as I can tell they are just straight up streaming what is on your PlayStation 5 screen to your device. The Wii-U was a brilliant magical device which could display one thing on the TV screen and another thing on the controller screen. More like a very big and disconnected DS.

Now if they were to add some kind of second screen capability to this that would be great, however that seems unlikely given that it can’t act as a controller hooked up to your PlayStation 5!

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It’s a bit mind-boggling how this came to be a real product. I play a TON of PS4/5 games using Remote Play while I’m at home, usually on my iPad (80% of the time) and my Mac (20%), and I have no interest in this device. I can’t think of anything new that it offers from what I’m already doing, except being expensive, and not usable with anything else. Someone else mentioned it being jailbroken to run other things, except it’s unlikely to have much usable memory on the device, and no way to add more to it. This is something that never should have made it past the idea stage.


I dunno, it was many things but I wouldn’t use any of those words to describe it.

It’s the only time I do.

It would have been great if general consumers had understood what it was, leading it to sell better,and most importantly if it had third party support. But which I don’t mean Activision or any of those people, I mean if there had been more emphasis on it being a powerful DS taking advantage of the two screen capabilities. Nintendo did that very well in many of their games (the Wii u version is still the best version of Mario maker to actually use from an interface standpoint),

The third party games that really stood out on it took advantage of the dual screens in really useful and interesting ways, like zombie u, or even Lego City undercover. An Etrian Odyssey would have been incredible on it.

Basically by magical I just mean that it could do things that nothing else does (except Nintendo’s clamshell handhelds. I really wish that they had pushed it to DS developers as an obvious jump to the console.

But they didn’t :man_shrugging:


This. I was waiting and waiting for a bunch of decent RPGs to drop to make it worth getting. Never happened, never ended up getting one.

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