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Sony Explains Why The PS Portal Ain’t The Vita 2

In a new interview, Sony explained that the PlayStation Portal—a portable gaming device that lets players remotely play PS5 games without needing to be in front of their TV or console—was never intended to be a Vita or PSP successor. It also revealed some other details on the oddly popular handheld machine.

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Following reports in April 2023, the PS Portal was first officially announced in May 2023 as Project Q. It costs $200 and only lets people play PS5 games from their PS5 console using an internet connection. At the time, the device confused a lot of people and disappointed many who were hoping for a Vita 2—a follow-up portable console that could carry the torch of Sony’s beloved indie machine. However, when it was released in November, positive reviews and good word of mouth helped the device become popular and it has quickly sold out over and over again since launch. And apparently, Sony wasn’t really expecting that to happen.

In a new interview with Game File, a newsletter created by former Kotaku EIC Stephen Totilo, PlayStation’s VP of product management Hiromi Wakai said that the Portal was designed for “people with specific needs” and who want to play PS5 games in “specific ways.” So when folks were confused online about the device, Wakai said Sony wasn’t surprised. However, the device selling so well did catch the company off guard.

“Although we don’t have any numbers to share, the demand has continued to exceed our expectations,” said Wakai.

While many players are seemingly excited to buy and use the Portal, a large group of gamers were hoping for a dedicated handheld that would function like the Vita or PSP. According to Sony, despite endless rumors, the Portal was never planned to be the Vita 2 folks wanted.

“The original idea of [the] PlayStation Portal remote player came from our goal to provide high-quality console gaming experiences in the players’ hands,” explained Wakai. She further said the goal was to provide console-quality gaming on the go at an “affordable price” using server-based technology.

“The initial discussions of this product started out from the question of how to expand the PS5 console game experience, not launch a separate handheld device.”

As for why the device looks like someone shoved a tablet between a split-in-half PS5 controller, that comes down to compatibility. Sony wanted to maintain all the features of the Dualsense and didn’t want to ask devs to do any extra work to support the PS Portal.

“We also did not want to ask for any additional work from game creators to achieve this goal.” PS5 games needed to work on the Portal with no strings attached,” said Wakai.

You can read more about the PlayStation Portal’s development—and why it’s called that—in the full interview over on Game File.

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