Following the success of the Switch and the Steam Deck, should PlayStation return to handheld gaming with a brand-new console?

While Sony has predominantly released home consoles in the past, there have also been two handheld PlayStations in the past.

The PSP came out in 2005 and was a huge success, selling over 80 million units. This prompted Sony to follow it up with the PlayStation Vita in 2012.

While the Vita was undeniably a great console, it only sold less around 16 million units, just 20% of the PSP. Since then, Sony has moved away from handhelds to focus on its home consoles.

PlayStation Vita

Despite this, the PlayStation Portal, a handheld device that streams games from your PS5, has been an unexpected success. Of course, this has then prompted many requests from gamers for Sony to release a new handheld PlayStation that can natively run games instead of just stream them.

But should Sony release a new handheld PlayStation or not?

Why Sony Needs a New Handheld

The Demand for Portable Gaming

The main reason why PlayStation may consider making a new handheld console is that the demand is there.

Since the Switch was released in 2017, portable and hybrid consoles have been very popular, but PlayStation is missing out despite being the current king of home consoles.

The demand for handheld consoles, as well as the strength of the PlayStation brand, could lead to a new portable PlayStation being a huge success.

PlayStation Logo Glowing

There’s a Great Collection of Past-Gen PlayStation Games

If Sony were to release a handheld, it could release great games from its PlayStation back catalog on the console.

This means that titles from the last couple of generations, like God of War, The Last of Us and Uncharted, could be released in handheld form. Additionally, it could be an excellent way for PlayStation to bring classics like Jak & Daxter and Sly Cooper back.

However, a portable PlayStation wouldn’t be as powerful as a PS5, so it couldn’t run the latest AAA games. You’d still have to get a PS5 to play those!

PlayStation Studios Banner

Sony Could Implement PlayStation Portal’s Remote Play

Finally, even if a handheld console wouldn’t be able to play PS5 games natively, PlayStation already has a solution to this.

A new Sony handheld could incorporate the Remote Play of the PlayStation Portal. This would allow gamers to stream titles from their PS5 that the handheld device couldn’t run.

As the PlayStation Portal has already proved to be very popular, incorporating its function into a handheld console would be a great idea!

PS Portal Blue Background

Why A New Portable PlayStation Isn’t Needed

Despite the arguments for a new handheld PlayStation, there are also a number of reasons why Sony won’t make a new portable console:

The Competition Is Stiff

Currently, the handheld console market is dominated by the Nintendo Switch, but the Steam Deck is another popular alternative. This will make breaking into the handheld market for Sony pretty tricky.

Therefore, Sony may not think it is worth investing a lot of time and money into a handheld if it may not be a success, especially after the 3DS comprehensively defeated PlayStation Vita in the early 2010s.

If breaking Nintendo’s handheld dominance wasn’t difficult enough, it also looks like the Switch 2 could be releasing in March 2025!

Nintendo Plan On Selling 10 Million Nintendo Switch 2 Units in 2024

You Can Already Play PlayStation Titles on Steam Deck

Over the past few years, Sony has released a number of critically acclaimed PlayStation Studios titles on PC. This includes God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon Forbidden West, The Last of Us Part 1 and Uncharted.

What’s more, all of these games are playable on Steam Deck at slightly lower resolutions and frame rates.

As Sony is already selling some of its biggest games on PC and, crucially, Steam Deck, there may be no point making a handheld PlayStation. After all, it would be much easier to continue porting games to PC than to develop an entirely new console.

Steam Deck With PlayStation Logo

It May Be Better to Focus On the Next Home Console

PlayStation has brushed aside its main rival, Xbox, this console generation and won’t want to lose its lead.

VGChartz reports that as of December 2023, the PS5 has sold over 52 million units, while the Xbox Series X has sold just over 27 million units.

Therefore, it may be a wise move for Sony to focus on its next home console to maintain its lead. If it tries to move back into handheld gaming too, it could let this lead slip as Xbox moves full speed ahead with developing its next-gen console.

Overall, we think that Sony won’t make a new handheld console in the near future. Despite there being an appetite for a portable PlayStation, Sony probably wouldn’t see it as being worthwhile right now.

It would be too great a risk to launch a new handheld console right now, and Sony will probably focus elsewhere. Of course, its primary focus will be on the PS5 and rumored PS5 Pro, but porting its games to PC is also becoming an important strategy for Sony.

author
Senior Staff Writer
Django grew up with a PlayStation controller in his hands and loves all kinds of games, from Football Manager to Yakuza.