There’s a new rumour doing the rounds that the PS5 is not the only games console Sony are developing. As reported earlier by Dutch news outlet LetsGoDigital, Sony have patented a new games cartridge hardware that looks a lot like the sort that is used in the PS Vita and Nintendo Switch.
This isn’t the first time that reports of a new portable PlayStation have appeared. Last year T3 reported on the rumours of an apparent 5G PSP. Could these two reports be the same thing? 5G technology could offer a sophisticated streaming service which could potentially allow PS5 games to be played on this mysterious machine via remote play. It seems like a natural progression of the remote play technology used by the PS4 and PS Vita. Something that had real potential but never really caught on. Is the world ready for it now? It seems unlikely that Sony would abandon the concept, especially after the success of the Switch.
The confirmation of the PS5 actually makes these rumours seem more likely. Where last year it was just noise, now this news coupled with the revelation that the PS5 is 12 months away lends real weight to these rumours. Sony are always ahead of the game when it comes to new technology, but this doesn’t always work in their favour. They sometimes create something ahead of its time that fails when it comes to market. But if they had released it a little later it may have caught on.
We actually believe that now is the best time for Sony to create a follow up to the Vita. The Nintendo Switch has reinvigorated portable gaming in a way that hasn’t been seen since the days of the Game Boy. Nintendo have always had the portable market sewn up, the DS and 3DS were massive successes, but portable gaming was never really in vogue until now. Nintendo were simply catering for a market, even with the 3DS’s impressive sales figures, portable gaming was never in a position to be taken as seriously as console gaming.
This was sadly proven twice by both of Sony’s attempts to break into this market. We have a lot of love for the PSP and PS Vita. Both were fantastic portable games consoles. Those who enjoyed portable gaming and did it regularly, for the most part, loved having a higher spec portable console than what Nintendo was offering. But neither the PSP or PS Vita ever managed to set the world on fire. They also never even managed to overcome their supposedly less advanced rivals.
As portable gaming is enjoying a renaissance, once again thanks to Nintendo, it makes sense to see if Sony’s next crack of the whip can take advantage of the saying “third time’s the charm”. Right now, the Switch stands up relatively well against the PS4 and Xbox One, but once Project Scarlett and the PS5 appear (about 12 months from now), will it stand up to the same level of scrutiny?
All Switch fans acknowledge that the console is technically inferior to the PS4 and the Xbox One, but having the freedom to play console quality games on the go is the draw. Yes the game won’t look as pretty but hey, I’m playing the Witcher 3 on the train! Will this still feel as exciting as we head into 2021, or will this concept and the Switch itself feel dated?
We don’t actually know the answer to that question. Nintendo have surprised us all and continue to do so, so it would be foolish to underestimate them. But we’re willing to bet that Sony has had this exact same thought. If they can release a portable games console that outshines the Switch, just as its popularity starts to wane and its hardware begins to feel dated, then that’s a real opportunity for them to capitalise on. When it comes to the battle of cutting-edge hardware, Sony often win. But nobody ever beats Nintendo when it comes to innovation. Adapting to survive is Nintendo’s super-power.
Many felt that the Nintendo Switch put the final nail in the coffin of the PS Vita. Will the PSP 3, PS Vita 2 or whatever it gets called return the favour? It may turn out to not even be real, but if it is then things are going to get interesting.