PlayStation is working on a new handheld, but it’s not the Vita 2: report

Sony's last portable gaming system, the PlayStation Vita, was a bomb

PlayStation Vita

Sony is developing a new PlayStation handheld that will offer Remote Play functionality with the PlayStation 5, according to a report from the often-reliable Insider Gaming.

For the uninitiated, Remote Play is a long-running PlayStation feature that allows consoles to stream games to handhelds and mobile devices. Per Insider Gaming, the new device — codenamed the Q Lite — won’t be a dedicated handheld, but will instead be a PS5 peripheral that requires a constant internet connection. VentureBeat‘s Jeff Grubb, another reliable industry insider, also tweeted that he’s heard about a PlayStation cloud-streaming handheld.

In terms of design, Insider Gaming says the Q Lite is expected to resemble a PS5 DualSense controller, but with an added 8-inch LCD touchscreen at the centre that supports 1080p and 60fps. It will also sport adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, two of the DualSense’s signature features, as well as a headphone jack and speakers.

Interestingly, the PS5 already supports Remote Play to mobile devices through a free app, so PlayStation may just want to appeal to that audience by offering a proprietary accessory, rather than solely letting people use smartphones and other devices that they already own. The Q Lite would also expand on PlayStation’s partnership Backbone on a mobile-focused controller.

PlayStation going the PS5 accessory route for a new handheld would also be a more understandably cautious approach for the company after its last portable gaming device, the Vita, was a failure. While Sony didn’t reveal official sales figures, estimates peg the now-discontinued system at around 16 million units as of 2018, a massive drop from the 80-plus million units sold by its predecessor, the PlayStation Portable.

When it launched in 2011, the Vita was sold on the promise of being able to take console-quality games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Killzone: Mercenary on the go. However, a variety of factors — namely, poor first-party support, expensive memory cards and strong competition from the likes of the Nintendo 3DS and mobile games — led the Vita to struggle immensely during its lifecycle.

At this point, other devices have successfully capitalized on that promise for high-quality portable gaming experiences. Most notably, there’s the Nintendo Switch, a console-handheld hybrid that’s already become the third best-selling console of all time at over 120 million units sold. And more recently, beefier products like the Steam Deck have taken a similar approach to PC games. Therefore, the Vita brand doesn’t seem to have a place in the modern market, even as some fans call for a successor.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen if and when PlayStation goes through with Q Lite. Insider Gaming didn’t indicate other key details, such as pricing and release timing. However, the outlet says it’s believed to be part of PlayStation’s “second phase” of the PS5, which includes a rumoured PS5 Pro that’s targeting a holiday 2024 launch.

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Source: Insider Gaming