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The PlayStation Portal handheld device shown in promotional artwork.
Image via Sony

Sony’s PlayStation Portal is just a worse PSP with an eye-watering price tag

It fits into a very niche market.

Sony has unveiled their first remote-play dedicated device, the PlayStation Portal, although it essentially comes across as a worse version of the classic PSP.

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The first sneak peek at the PlayStation Portal came in May, along with the Pulse Explore wireless earbuds. It now also features an over-the-ear wireless headset, the Pulse Elite, and releases later this year.

Its snazzy look essentially leaves the PlayStation Portal looking like a PS5 controller with a screen in the middle, but there are significant limitations to this handheld device that hold it back from what it could have been.

Related: Everything shown at the PlayStation Showcase 2023

In order to use a PlayStation Portal, you will need to have your PS5 turned on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network, which will allow you to stream games to your PlayStation Portal.

That means you can’t play on-the-go, so the PlayStation Portal is mostly useful in situations where you don’t have access to your TV—like when your partner is watching Love Island.

The PlayStation Portal handheld device shown in promotional artwork.
Technology hasn’t gone too far. Image via Sony.

This puts the PlayStation Portal in a particularly niche market and, with a price tag of $199.99, it certainly doesn’t come cheap.

Further restrictions include the fact that streaming games through PlayStation Plus Premium’s cloud streaming service isn’t supported, limiting the library of games that you can play.

Sony has, of course, tried their hand at handheld gaming, with the PSP followed by the much-maligned PS Vita, so it’s understandable that they aren’t willing to go down that route again.

However, I don’t necessarily think PlayStation Portal is the right way to go, as it’s only really useful in niche situations that, in reality, can probably be avoided anyway.

Had Sony come up with a PlayStation handheld device that allowed you to play PS5 games while traveling and away from home, the story would have been different, but the PlayStation Portal just feels like a pointless accessory.

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Josh Challies
Staff Writer. Professional writer since 2014. Pokemon, Marvel, Star Wars and overall geek. Previously wrote for Yahoo Sport, Stats Perform and online news publications.