Project Q: Sony reveals handheld device at Showcase, PS5 games, is it a PlayStation Switch - release date

Fans looking for PlayStation's answer to the Nintendo Switch will be disappointed

During Sony's recent PlayStation Showcase event, head of PlayStation Jim Ryan revealed a somewhat unexpected development - the unveiling of a brand new PlayStation handheld gaming device known as Project Q.

The device's teaser trailer provided a glimpse of its design, reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch, featuring a tablet-like eight-inch screen flanked by two controller halves, for a portable gaming experience.

However, unlike the Switch, Project Q won't quite let you take all of your favourite PS5 games on the game, and instead the device, slated for release later this year, allows users to stream games directly from their PS5 console. Here is everything you need to know about it.

What can Project Q do?

With its Project Q placeholder name, details on the device are still relatively thin on the ground, so we can only really report what Ryan said during the Showcase presentation.

"Innovation is our passion, and that applies to not just what games you play, but how you play them," Ryan said. "Later this year we will launch a device that enables you to stream any game from your PS5 over WiFi.

"Internally known as Project Q, it has an eight-inch HD screen and all of the buttons and features of the DualSense wireless controller. We look forward to sharing more information in the near future."

Sony's newly revealed Project Q device (Image: Sony)Sony's newly revealed Project Q device (Image: Sony)
Sony's newly revealed Project Q device (Image: Sony)

Project Q makes use of PS5's Remote Play, a functionality that allows users to stream and play games from their PS5 console on other compatible devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Players can enjoy PS5 and PS4 games remotely - as long as they have a stable internet connection - and they must have the games installed on a PS5 console; the actual gaming processing takes place on the PS5, with the streamed gameplay displayed on the remote device.

That means that unlike the Switch, you won't quite be able to take your favourite games with you wherever you go, as you'll need to have a fairly sturdy internet connection to get the best experience - the Switch has its own hardware and is not reliant on streaming games from another console.

Sony says that it's important to ensure you have a minimum broadband internet speed of at least 5Mbps to enable a smooth Remote Play experience, though a high-speed connection of at least 15Mbps is recommended for an "enhanced" experience.

Players can opt to employ a mobile data connection for accessing Remote Play features on devices like mobile phones, but it will consume your mobile data allowance.

Which games will it support?

Most PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games are compatible with Remote Play, so you'll be able to beam gameplay from the majority of your collection to Project Q. Note that PSVR games are not compatible or supported in this setup.

When is it coming out?

Ryan gave no further indication of an exact release date for Project Q, other than saying it is coming "later this year". During an investor meeting ahead of the PlayStation Showcase, Ryan revealed that Project Q is part of Sony's upcoming cloud gaming strategy that he described as "fairly interesting and quite aggressive."

An aggressive move into cloud gaming would explain a lot as to why Sony were so against Microsoft's planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and likely welcomed the news that the UK's competition watchdog - the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) - had blocked the proposed $69 billion merger just weeks ago.

Cloud gaming is a type of gaming in which games are played on remote servers rather than on a local console or PC. Players use an internet connection to stream the game to their device and control the game using a keyboard, mouse or controller.

It allows players to play high-quality games on any device with an internet connection, without the need for expensive hardware. This means that players can access games that their device may not have been able to handle otherwise.

Microsoft has been pushing into cloud gaming in recent years, and offers players the option of playing many of the games included in its Xbox Game Pass subscription service through the technology.

Microsoft bosses continue to look for ways to strengthen the company's gaming arm, and bringing Activision Blizzard under its belt would be one way to do that, as Microsoft would have publishing control over some of the biggest and most lucrative gaming titles like Call of Duty, attracting more subscribers and cloud gaming users.

Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel of experts conducting the CMA investigation, said: “Microsoft already enjoys a powerful position and head start over other competitors in cloud gaming and this deal would strengthen that advantage, giving it the ability to undermine new and innovative competitors."