The hour-long PlayStation Showcase that aired on May 24th, 2023 was packed full of new announcements. For the majority of that time, plenty of intriguing games were announced for PS5 and PSVR 2 devices. A relatively small amount of time was dedicated to the surprising hardware accessories like the new Project Q handheld device.
I’m gonna be honest. I think the Project Q thing looks kinda awful. Much like the PlayStation 5, it is ungainly and garish. Out of the current generation of gaming, the PlayStation 5 is my least favourite, at least hardware-wise. Despite Sony currently having a higher quantity of amazing exclusives compared to the Xbox, Microsoft wins out on console design. The sleek set of current consoles from them is visually much more pleasing. Heck, the PlayStation itself has a stand included, and it is recommended to be used, even when on its side. Not only does it not look good, it’s not even that stable. The Dualsense controller also looks and feels like a boomerang with added bits tacked on.
Any good design should have a balance of form and function. This current crop of Sony hardware just seems designed as flashy as possible, with no thought into real-world usage. Project Q brings that design philosophy into even more stark focus.
It looks like someone has taken a chainsaw to a Dualsense Controller. They have then superglued the resulting pieces to either side of an oversized screen. I hope the thing that was shown in the PlayStation Showcase was a concept piece, rather than a near-finished product. It looks half-finished. The screen juts out awkwardly as the controller curves away, leaving a strange empty space. I know there are third-party examples of Joy-Con replacements for the Nintendo Switch that do something similar. At least those sit well with the screen.
Lack of features
Whilst details on Project Q are thin on the ground at the moment, Sony has revealed some details. The device will have an 8-inch LCD screen with a max resolution of 1080p at 60 fps. DualSense controller features such as adaptive triggers and haptic feedback will also be preserved. It was also revealed that, unlike the PlayStation Portable or Vita, the new device won’t play games independently. It will only be able to stream games from the main console via Remote Play. This, coupled with a recommended high-speed Wi-Fi connection minimum of 15Mbps, Sony really seems to be limiting the potential of their new device. This means players won’t be able to take the Project Q outside the house, and will forever be tethered.
Back of the pack
With a resurgence in handheld gaming, I feel like Sony is shooting itself in the foot somewhat. The Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck have secured a solid foothold with on-the-go gaming. Newcomer ROG Ally is beginning to make waves too. Even Microsoft seems to be making moves into handheld gaming, thanks to the leaked Microsoft Hackathon video. Of course, this thing isn’t out yet. For all I know it might feel incredible to hold in my hands. Still doesn’t look great though.