With long-running rumors of Sony’s next handheld circling tech enthusiasts for some time, a recent announcement revealed the system to be more than just a myth. Labeled Project Q, at least for now, this system is stated to act as a streaming device for a user’s PS5, allowing them to play their games remotely. Listed as an accessory, this doesn’t appear to be a full-fledged follow-up to the PSP or Vita, disappointing many fans. So, what will the system do, and what might it accomplish that’s not yet stated?
The Official Project
As stated by Sony, Project Q is a “device for playing games installed on your PS5 and streamed over WiFi”. Featuring what is assumed to be a 60 FPS screen and 1080p resolution, this device is not likely to be too expensive, though its addition of the official DualSense controller is likely to contribute to it not being cheap either.
As per these stated capabilities, Project Q doesn’t appear to have space for native games to be inserted, nor has Sony made any claims about the system being able to run titles natively. That said, the system could provide some level of native gaming, at least in a simple form.
The idea that Sony is hiding huge native gaming potential on the Q is unlikely. What is far more likely is that it could be possible to leverage the basic systems within the Q to reach beyond simple WiFi streaming. Streaming at a high level of quality with low latency means that, despite acting primarily as a screen, some capable hardware and software must be placed within the Q. These components might not be especially powerful when compared to the PS5, but for many types of gaming, they don’t have to be.
Our first thought here is that since WiFi is a stated component, playing web games could be possible. For example, mobile online casinos already perform flawlessly on smartphones, many of which are not especially powerful themselves. Titles like Monopoly Live or Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em run well on most HTML5-capable browsers, so if Sony includes one, this type of play could be a no-brainer. Though playing these games might require touchscreen control, this component to access titles like online casino games wouldn’t be difficult to fake.
There are also possibilities in the Q from the world of emulation. While the PS1 was a powerhouse at the time of release, it’s so hilariously weak today that emulating its titles is simple even on basic chips. For comparison, the PS1 could handle around 360,000 polygons a second, while the PS5 can display 8.9 billion, at much higher resolutions and with far more complex effects. Sony has emphasized backward compatibility a lot in the last generation, so emulation of earlier systems is no doubt something they’ve considered.
Sony has said that the future months will include further reveals of the Q’s potential, so it’s too early to state with confidence what the system can and can’t do. We know what fans are hoping for though, even if the machine won’t serve as a new entry in their handheld division. Whether playing web games or loading up Tomba for the first time in decades, we know we’re not alone in hoping the system has more up its sleeve than meets the eye.