What you need to know
- Sony has announced Project Q, the remote streaming handheld companion to the PlayStation 5, will be known as the PlayStation Portal.
- The PlayStation Portal will retail for $199, making it one of the cheapest cloud gaming handhelds on the market.
- The PlayStation Portal is powered by an Android operating system, which opens up the potential for modders to sideload an Xbox app for access to Xbox Cloud Gaming.
Sony has officially declared its previously announced Project Q remote streaming handheld will be known as the PlayStation Portal. Serving as a handheld companion device to your existing PlayStation 5 system, the Portal will allow you to stream the games that you own on your PlayStation to the handheld over a wireless connection but with a few caveats. The PS5 and the Portal need to be on the same network in order to function, and PlayStation recommends at least a 5mbps connection at minimum with a connection speed of 15mbps being ideal. The price for the PlayStation Portal was also revealed to be $199, making this remote player one of the most affordable handhelds on the market.
The Portal features an 8-inch display sandwiched into the middle of a standard DualSense 5 controller and offers all of the amenities you would expect to find on one, as well, including a built-in microphone and haptic feedback. Interestingly enough, the thumb sticks of the Portal are more akin to the ones from a PlayStation VR controller as opposed to a standard DualSense 5. Apart from the price, the most notable feature of the PlayStation Portal is that it seems to be running on a modified version of Android.
Microsoft does offer an Android app for Xbox Game Pass that can be used to play games via Xbox Cloud Gaming. If the PlayStation Portal is in fact powered by Android, it could be possible for users to modify the system to access the OS and load the Xbox app. The Xbox app would allow you then to play games via the cloud with an Xbox Game Pass subscription or to remote play your own Xbox console. Even without the Xbox app, a web browser outside of the PlayStation system would also be able to access the Xbox cloud, allowing you to play Xbox games on the PlayStation Portal.
There are other handheld devices that are capable of playing Xbox games with much less effort and modding, but they come with a much higher price tag than the PlayStation Portal's $199. Both Asus' ROG Ally cloud gaming handheld and the Razer Edge will run you close to $399 for handheld access to your Xbox, while a Razer Kishi v2 can turn your smart phone into a portable Xbox console for less than $100.
Analysis: More hassle than it'd be worth
The PlayStation Portal's announcement is certainly worth raising your eyebrows at if you're interested in handheld gaming. The more you dig into Sony's marketing of this device, however, you realize just how much this "companion device" is pared down and limited. One of the joys of handheld gaming is the freedom to take your favorite game with you no matter where you are, but the PlayStation Portal isn't even capable of that due to its out of the box limitations. For those in the Xbox space it's even less of a viable handheld option, requiring an effort from the community to find a way to completely reprogram the handheld to run games via Xbox Cloud. Can you? Maybe. Should you? Probably not.
Save your time, money and sanity by avoiding modding a PlayStation Portal and just catch the Logitech G Cloud on sale for around $250. Or, if you prefer a more budget friendly option, literally any tablet (yes, even that $49 Onn tablet from Walmart) can be paired with a wireless Xbox controller for Xbox Cloud Gaming and remote play. There's plenty of arguments to be had on why Xbox should make their own gaming handheld, but there are still more than enough options available for remotely playing Xbox games that it's hard to recommend going the hardcore modding route to do it.
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Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.