While Sony has been dominating the market for high-end video game consoles for the living room for the better part of the past three decades, it never really cracked the code for handheld gaming devices. While the PlayStation Portable (PSP), released in 2004, sold a respectable 76 million units over its 10-year lifespan, Nintendo moved twice as many units of the popular Nintendo DS, which was released in the same year.
The PSP’s successor, the PlayStation Vita arrived in 2011/2012 and despite a strong start, sales quickly dwindled and ultimately disappointed. The fact that Sony refused to disclose sales data for the Vita while doing so for every other PlayStation device released since 1994 speaks for itself. Estimates from various sources put Vita lifetime sales around 15 million units, which partly explains why Sony temporarily gave up on handheld gaming afterwards. Asked about a potential Vita successor in 2015, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said that the climate was “not healthy” for handheld devices, due to the “huge dominance of mobile gaming.”
Eight years later, Sony seems to be dipping its toes into handheld gaming again. But while we know that the device codenamed “Project Q” will stream PS5 games via Remote Play, require Wi-Fi and arrive later this year, we know little else at this point.