Move over, Meta: your smart screen is about to lose its title as “the biggest tech flop named Portal”.
Sony has announced that its thoroughly redundant streaming handheld console will be called the PlayStation Portal. It can stream PS5 games from your own console as long as you’re on the same WiFi network, freeing up the TV so that someone else in your house can binge-watch Netflix.
And that’s pretty much all it does. Even though it runs Android, it can’t play mobile games, and nor can it stream games from PlayStation Plus Premium via the cloud.
This limited functionality will set players back an eyebrow-raising US$199.99 — or around NZ$335 — when it’s released later this year.
To be entirely fair to Sony, that’s kind of a fair price when you look at the parts. It has an 8in 1080p LCD screen capable of 60fps gameplay, and two halves of a DualSense controller crudely strapped to the back, with the same clever sensors and haptics you find in the regular pad.
But the elephant in the room is that Sony already lets almost anybody with a smartphone stream PS5 games with the Remote Play app for iOS and Android. With the added advantage that your phone can also take calls, watch videos, browse the internet, play games and take photos.
Yes, it doesn’t have a gamepad attached, but that’s easily remedied if you don’t mind your phone becoming an eyesore. And it costs a whole lot less than buying this dedicated handheld.
At US$199.99, it’s also exactly half the price of the entry-level Steam Deck, which can also use Remote Play for PS5 games with a little handiwork as well as playing thousands of cheap PC games via Steam.
All in all, it’s very hard to see who this is aimed at. But if you are keen, and it does come to New Zealand, don’t worry too much about the price — it’s hard to imagine it staying this high for very long when the bargain bin is calling.