The PS Vita Is Not Returning But Sony Might Launch Another Handheld Game Console

hero ps vita playing ff7r
Sony's gaming handhelds have typically been potent portables with expansive feature sets for their time. The original PSP could play audio and video off memory sticks, and it even had a web browser—impressive stuff for a handheld device in 2004, three years before the iPhone. The PS Vita had an OLED screen and optional cellular connectivity.

While they've never been the market success in the US that they were in their native Japan, Sony's handhelds definitely had their fans around the world. That's why any news about a next-generation portable is like meat to a starving man—the PS Vita came out in 2012, and Sony gave up on the machine just three years later in 2015.

insider gaming q lite screenshot

Well, a new rumor says that Sony will release another handheld gaming device, but don't leap out of your seat just yet. The rumor originates with Insider Gaming—the source of that divisive PS5 Pro rumor from awhile back—and it says that the next Sony handheld is codenamed the "Q Lite," and it will be a streaming-exclusive system like Logitech's G Cloud.

The difference between the Q Lite and the G Cloud is that the latter is intended for playing games using services like NVIDIA's GeForce NOW and Microsoft's XCloud—services that run the game on their servers and then send you a video feed of the game's output while capturing your inputs and sending them over the internet back to the game. These services can be impressive if you live geographically close to the servers, but if you don't, throwing an extra 100-200ms of network latency behind your input device doesn't feel great.

ps3 remote play
Remote Play debuted on the PS3. From the official Sony PS3 manual.

Meanwhile, the Q Lite is supposedly intended to be used specifically for the PlayStation Remote Play feature. That's streaming just like the above, except that instead of streaming from a remote server across the internet, you're streaming the video feed from the PlayStation on the same home network at your house.

Remote Play has existed since the PlayStation 3 and the original PSP, and even back then it worked very well. Insider Gaming says that the "Q Lite" will support "adaptive streaming up to 1080p and 60 FPS," and that it will come with an 8" LCD touchscreen, as well as the usual handheld gaming system niceties: volume control, speakers, audio jacks both out and in, and so on.

nintendo switch in bed
Playing Switch in bed is way too comfy.

Gamers in the US don't benefit as much from handheld systems as in other places since our public mass transit infrastructure isn't as developed as, say, Japan's. However, many folks who pooh-poohed handheld gaming have since found that they enjoy the convenience of the Nintendo Switch, and the way that they can lay in bed or sit at the kitchen counter and continue playing their game. The Q Lite could give PlayStation gamers the same kind of freedom.

Insider Gaming says that its sources tell it that the device is currently in the QA phase, and that it will release after the PS5 system with the detachable disc drive, but before the PS5 Pro's purported holiday 2024 launch. The site also says that a set of wireless earbuds and a wireless headset for the PS5 are also on the way, and should release around the same time.