Sony Officially Announces Long-Rumored Project Q Streaming Handheld
There was a lot of hype and expectations for the latest PlayStation Showcase, from the reveal of the MGS 5 remake to a long-awaited Dragons Dogma 2. However, it wasn’t all about the games as Sony finally broke the seal and revealed the handheld streaming system it calls Project Q to the world. An interesting device, this system will bank on cutting-edge modern internet speeds for any hope of performing, but why is this, and can it measure up?
The Streaming Speed Equation
Video streaming has long been possible in the online realm, where even the most demanding streams don’t ask for much bandwidth. ExpressVPN highlights this in their blog piece by comparing how long it would take average internet connections worldwide to download a hypothetical 4K release of the new Flash movie. With a size of about 17.5 GB, the average speed in a country like Thailand (260.54 Mbps) could deliver this entire video file in 8 minutes and 57 seconds. With this speed, keeping up with real-time delivery is no problem, but the equation is more complicated in gaming.
Though the same bandwidth issue plays an important part in ensuring a high-quality image in game streaming, just as important is latency. This measures the time it takes for data to perform a round trip, and it can be a killer. Overclock3D pointed out this problem caused issues with Google Stadia’s performance in Doom Eternal because fast-paced titles can struggle the most.
Project Q’s Potential and Disappointment
Project Q takes a physical form most reminiscent of the Wii U, featuring a large center screen with controller pads on either side. Sony promises this will feature the PS5’s DualSense controller, as NotebookCheck reports, though the rest of the specs aren’t yet in our hands. Since Sony didn’t boast a high-refresh and 4K screen, we have to assume that the system will output at 1080p and 60 FPS. This isn’t bad, placing it above Nintendo’s Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck, but it’s not cutting-edge. At least these specs should, in theory, keep costs down.
Notes from Sony also mention that this device has only been developed to stream games from a user’s own PS5. This is somewhat unexpected, given Sony has run a dedicated streaming service, PlayStation Now, since 2014. In theory, playing from a home device would reduce the latency issues when far from Sony game servers. In the real world, however, a poor-quality router or spotty Wi-Fi connection will cause connection, quality, and latency issues. This issue will be minimized on a cabled fiber line, which fewer casual gamers use.
As much potential as Project Q has, diehard PSP and Vita fans have to be disappointed. Project Q is not stated to host games natively, even though that would not be a complicated or expensive task if emulating PS1, PS2, and former handheld titles. Still, there’s hope for Project Q and what it might eventually morph into. If you’d like to take your PS5 on the go around town or just into another room, this system could be one to watch.