The PlayStation Portal has been announced and gamers are curious about how it stacks up against the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch. That’s the wrong question to ask, though.
Sony is no stranger to portable gaming devices. The company launched the PSP in 2005 and PS Vita in 2011. The handhelds gained popularity thanks to their small size, strong graphics, and library of exclusive and independently released titles. Titles ranging from indie favorite Stardew Valley to full remakes of Persona 3 and 4 arrived on the PSP and PS Vita.
Gaming on the go has become the norm thanks to the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch, and some hope that the PlayStation Portal will bring back that magic from Sony. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
PlayStation Portal is not a gaming platform
The PlayStation Portal is not a gaming platform, it is a local game-streaming device. While Valve’s Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch run the games themselves, the PlayStation Portal serves as a display and controller for the PlayStation 5.
This also means players won’t be able to download, install, or play any of their PlayStation games directly on the Portal. The PlayStation Portal is a tablet with a DualSense controller attached with the ability to use the PS5’s Remote Play feature.
Players will require a PlayStation 5 to use the PlayStation Portal. The device itself doesn’t have the storage or processing power that would allow it to run games.
The PlayStation Portal does not offer 4G/5G connectivity. Instead, it requires a strong Wi-Fi connection to stream games from PlayStation 5. It can theoretically work using a hotspot if the signals are strong enough.
PlayStation Portal vs. Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch
The PlayStation Portal is a completely different device from the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch. It is strictly a PlayStation 5 accessory rather than a piece of hardware unto itself.
The Steam Deck is a portable PC that can run most PC games without the need for a beefy desktop. The Switch is a complete console that can play games on the go. Players looking for a similar experience on the PlayStation Portal will be disappointed.
To play games on the PlayStation Portal, gamers need a PlayStation 5 console and a good Wi-Fi connection while the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck play games themselves. The PlayStation Portal costs $199.99. The cheapest Steam Deck starts at $399 while the Nintendo Switch Lite retails for $199.99.
Sony’s new remote play device comes with an 8-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1080p. It can display 60 frames per second and has a dedicated 3.5 mm audio jack. The PlayStation Blog post also introduced two new official accesories, the PlayStation Pulse Elite headset, and Pulse Explore earbuds. There was no word on the leaked PlayStation 5 Slim variant.