If you’ve paid attention to any of the media coverage and subsequent reviews of the PlayStation Portal handheld, it’s mostly critical of the basic functionality that focuses only on Remote Play from a PS5 console.
Many have wondered why Sony isn’t using this as an opportunity to make a deeper push into dedicated cloud gaming via a PlayStation device?
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After all, it is already improving the access to cloud streaming on consoles by offering access to archive games via a PlayStation Plus Premium membership. And, the Portal would be infinitely more attractive to gamers if there PS5 didn’t have to be switched on at home as part of the equation.
However, while cloud gaming isn’t part of the proposition right now, it doesn’t mean it won’t be added in the future. In fact, there’s nothing preventing that happening, a Sony VP has said in an interview in the company’s Japanese homeland.
Translated comments from Hideaki Nishino – the SVP of platform experience at PlayStation – suggest Sony is simply biding its time and making sure its cloud streaming infrastructure is stable enough to bring to the Portal handheld. He said the differences between Remote Play and cloud gaming, in terms of facilitating it, are negligible.
“It’s easy to check off the features,” he told AV Watch (comments translated via macOS Safari). “However, we would like to proceed while carefully considering whether this is a good idea and whether we can truly provide gameplay without any problems.”
“In terms of Portal, remote play and the cloud are only different in terms of where the server is, and there are no technical problems. We will start with Remote Play and proceed with verification. We have been taking cloud gaming very seriously ever since we acquired Gaikai.”
Nishino added that it is cautious of pushing into cloud streaming on the handheld and users having a bad experience. He believes it has to feel as natural as gaming on the console.
He added that “it is important not to feel like a cloud. If the transfer is waiting and expires, customers will never believe in cloud gaming again. I don’t want people to say, ‘I couldn’t use cloud gaming.’”
So, while the PlayStation Portal isn’t the all-singing all-dancing handheld out of the gate, there’s certainly potential for it to get much more useful over time.