During the recent PlayStation Showcase 2023, Sony announced its long-rumoured handheld gaming machine codenamed “Project Q.” Looking very much like a PlayStation 5‘s DualSense controller split in half and with a touchscreen in the middle, it looks every bit a competitor to the Nintendo Switch and even the latest crop of PC handhelds like the Steam Deck and ROG Ally.
There’s just one problem: you can’t actually play games on it.
More specifically, it can’t play games natively; instead, it streams content from a PS5 over WiFi. This is through Sony’s Remote Play functionality, which already lets users connect to their console using a smartphone or tablet, not only over a local network but also remotely through the Internet. If you hook up a controller to an iPad, you can basically play games the same way.
Sony says the Project Q will have an eight-inch 1080p LCD display capable of up to 60fps (meaning you will miss out on the PS5’s 120fps support), along with all the buttons and controls of the DualSense controller. These include the iconic PlayStation face buttons and directional buttons, twin analogue sticks, shoulder buttons and triggers, the menu, share and PS buttons and a mute button for the included microphone.
One big advantage the Project Q has over simply using Remote Play on a smartphone and tablet is the DualSense’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, which usually isn’t supported over Remote Play. It remains to be seen if the device will be able to connect to a PS5 over the Internet instead of only on a local WiFi network, which would mean you’d be able to bring it with you when travelling.
To do that, however, Sony would have to drastically improve the performance of Remote Play over Internet, as the current system’s issues with latency and stutters mean it’s not exactly a viable option for gamers. It also remains to be seen if the handheld will support PlayStation’s revamped cloud gaming service teased by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) president and CEO Jim Ryan this week, which will apparently be “quite aggressive” compared to the existing PS Now.
What about the PS wireless earbuds?
Perhaps more interesting than the Project Q are the unnamed wireless earbuds that were announced at the same time. Like the Pulse 3D headset, these would connect to the PS5 over WiFi for superior latency and bandwidth. For the first time however, the buds will also come with Bluetooth, allowing you to pair them with your phone, tablet or computer without a dongle.
Sony claims it’s using “new wireless technology” developed in house to deliver low-latency lossless audio, and the buds will presumably be compatible with the PS5’s Tempest 3D spatial audio tech. They also look to dispense with in-vogue touch controls in favour of physical volume and connectivity buttons and come in a rechargeable sliding case.
The company added it will announced more information regarding both Project Q and the earbuds in the coming months. “We’re investing heavily in the future with innovative best-in-class hardware like PlayStation VR2 and the newly revealed Project Q, and our expansion into PC, Mobile, and Live Service gaming is transforming how and where our content can be enjoyed,” said Ryan.