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Why is Project Q being developed by Sony?

It’s always nice to add a little hardware reveal to a summer console showcase, but Sony’s Project Q handheld’s introduction at the PlayStation Showcase on Wednesday was one of the more puzzling ones. According to the press release, Project Q is an 8-inch device that lets you use Sony’s Remote Play system to play PlayStation 5 games by streaming them from your PS5 over Wi-Fi “when you’re away from your TV.” It appears to be a DualSense controller that has been split in half and attached to the ends of a Switch’s middle.

Why is Project Q being developed by Sony? 2
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It’s a true handheld console or a cloud gaming system, to start. The games are run locally on your PS5, so Project Q won’t function while you’re traveling without a cellular connection unless the bus, train, or plane you’re on has an incredibly strong Wi-Fi connection or you buy a 5G hub on a reliable network. (According to Sony, Project Q needs “at least 5 Mbps” to operate, with “a better play experience” requiring at least 15 Mbps.) Project Q cannot be used with the PlayStation Plus subscription service’s cloud gaming component because the games must be installed on the PS5, as well. Project Q really aims to provide you with access to your PS5 games throughout the house, even when the TV is off.

This is what Remote Play does β€” and has been doing for a very long time, actually. The feature launched with the PlayStation 3 all the way back in 2006, initially only working with the PlayStation Portable and later the Vita handheld. Over time, support was expanded to other Sony devices, then Windows and Mac PCs, and eventually, in 2019, Android and iOS mobile devices. It’s not too difficult to set up on a laptop, phone, or iPad paired with a PlayStation controller, and it can come in very handy. But it has never been that widely used.

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The appeal of a dedicated device is simple to comprehend: a handheld console’s form factor is more comfortable than a separate controller and small screen in most circumstances. This convenience is offered by Project Q, which should perform more smoothly than any alternative Remote Play solution because it is a single-use official PlayStation device. (A Steam Deck can support remote play, but it requires a lot of fiddling.) It offers every feature of the DualSense, including its adaptive triggers and precise haptic feedback, in contrast to accessories or controllers from third parties. Although an OLED panel like the top-of-the-line Switch would have been nice instead of the LCD that Sony is offering, the screen’s 1080p resolution will undoubtedly be sufficient for its size.

Why is Project Q being developed by Sony? 3
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Project Q’s main goal, presumably, is to provide the best and most convenient remote play solution for use around the house. However, it won’t provide any more than that, and by doing so, it is duplicating the functions of other devices you already own. Even the Backbone game controller for mobile devices has a PlayStation license, and an Android version of it was unveiled the day before Project Q. If your mobile data plan and service can handle its data demands, it could potentially make Remote Play truly portable, even though it lacks DualSense features.

The fact that Sony is not extending Project Q’s capabilities to stream games from the cloud so that it could operate separately from a PS5 is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the project. Cloud streaming only needs connectivity and a video decoder, both of which Project Q should already have. It doesn’t call for a lot of processing power. Sony might not have been able to get it working well enough at cost, but on the other hand, perhaps spending a little more and taking a higher price point might have been worthwhile to improve the device’s utility and future-proof it. The existence of Project Q indicates that Sony is aware of the need for gaming to be more flexible and less dependent on a set schedule.

In fact, Sony was a pioneer in the field of cloud gatechnology. echnology. In order to create the PlayStation Now service, it spent $380 million on the Gaiai platform, but it never really seemed to know what to do with it. The truth is that Sony’s business model, culture, or values do not easily align with the cloud. Many of the powerful individuals at Sony are either engineers who excel at creating gadgets or marketers (like PlayStation boss Jim Ryan) who excel at packaging and selling them. Sony is a household name in the entertainment industry and was founded on the foundation of an established consumer electronics manufacturer. The marketers now have another box to sell, and the engineers have another device to create. But there isn’t much in the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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