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In Defence of the PlayStation Portal

When the PlayStation Portal was first announced at the PlayStation Showcase by CEO Jim Ryan (then known as the Project Q), a lot of critics dismissed the device as an unneccessary peripheral that had no mass market appeal. Now that preorders are live and the device is slated for November 15th, I'm happy to counter that it's just the device I've been waiting for.

2023 has been a year of plenty when it comes to incredible game releases, and as lovely as that is, it's done nothing to alleviate the crippling backlog most of us already had. As a parent, who works full time, and also has a partner he wants to spend time with, my time for games is extremely limited (and it's frustratingly my favourite hobby). Gone are the days where no responsibilities or commitments meant I could binge 4+ hours of gaming in the evening before bed. In a household with only one primary TV, the choice to take it up for my sole use, especially in the company of others, is never ideal. So how do you find the time to chip away at all the games you've missed? You don't.

The PlayStation Portal is the hero we deserve. As a Remote Play device, meaning it has no internal processing of its own and instead streams content from your linked PS5 console, many have asked who this device is even aimed at in the era of Nintendo Switch and Valve Steam Deck. Parents? Casual gamers? Commuters? It's all of the above.

Remote Play isn't a playstyle with a massive fanbase, but it's so underappreciated as a service and has been dying for this injection of platform holder support. As someone who played through the entirety of Ghost of Tsushima on an iPhone 13 and BackBone One controller, a premium first party solution to Remote Play has been a long time coming!

Being able to play Returnal on the sofa while my wife and I watch another rubbish reality show about hopeless daters, or being able to get another hour or so into Elden Ring in the comfort of my own bed sounds like a dream...but you don't even have to be confined to your own home. Your Portal and PS5 don't even have to be on the same network.

Sure, the PlayStation Portal isn't the new PlayStation Portable. It won't fit into your pockets unless you're one of those people still wearing JNCO jeans...but who doesn't commute with some kind of bag? I've always got a backpack on me. If you've got a connection of 15Mbps or above, you'll be more than fine. You can even use your phone as a mobile hotspot.

So who is the PlayStation Portal for? Anyone. Everyone. It's for me. Sure, I'd have loved it to have an OLED screen and Bluetooth audio support...but at £199 / $199 I think Sony have settled on a pricepoint that'll appeal to exactly the type of audience they're going for.

The PlayStation Portal is available for preorder right now via PlayStation Direct for release on November 15th. PlayStation are also guaranteeing launch day delivery.

The Specs
  • 8-inch 1080p LCD Screen at 60fps

  • Dualsense Advanced Haptics

  • Adaptive Triggers

  • Touch Screen

  • 3.5mm Audio Jack

  • Remote Play Only Device (PS5 Required)

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