The idea that Sony could be working on a PSP 5G handheld console has been circulating for a year or so now, despite the Japanese gaming company making inconclusive comments that run to the counter.
The idea is that a new Sony PSP 5G is possible largely rests on the fact that the firm is actually perfectly positioned to re-enter the handheld gaming market, which is booming but dominated by the Nintendo Switch family of consoles – and the Big N is shortly to bolster that with a Nintendo Switch Pro launch.
Sony's optimal positioning is multiple-fold, too. Not only is it a master of next-gen gaming, with the PlayStation 5 the most desired product on Earth right now, but Sony is also a master of screen tech, mobile devices and - crucially - 5G technology. Indeed, from Sony's professional camera business to its smartphone one, 5G is integrated at a deep level.
Combine these expertise and you have a recipe to produce a next-gen gaming handheld that delivers 5G-powered cloud gaming experiences.
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And, now, at least in my mind, it looks like Sony's latest move has made a path to release for a PSP 5G console even clearer. That's because the Japanese firm has officially announced that it is shutting down the PSP, PS3 and PlayStation Vita stores, with the shuttering taking place on July 2 and August 27, 2021, respectively.
That's obviously frustrating news for gamers who still use those stores, however, from a PSP 5G point of view it is potentially very exciting. The reason for this is Sony's PSP 5G has been slated right from the off to use the same store as PlayStation 5, which has fundamental integration with the PS4 store as well.
The PSP 5G would use the same store as it would be a cloud-based streaming console that, rather than play proprietary games made specifically for it and sold on a independent store, would simply be a mobile platform for accessing games gamers already own on PS5, be that bought via the store or owned via a PS Now subscription.
A such, by shuttering all legacy stores Sony has dramatically streamlined its gaming operations from a resources point of view, and also unified all its online purchases under essentially one store.
The fact that the PS5 store (which can access all PS4 games remember, too) already exists is yet another string in Sony's bow in terms of being able to put together a PSP 5G – the store and software needed to access it already exist. Sony has the hardware and software to build a PSP 5G, and with it wiping its slate clean of legacy systems, it can now unify its next-gen offering under one store and Netflix-for-games streaming service.
And, while the PSP 5G is far from confirmed, the launch of one would really complete Sony's next-gen gaming offering, with the PS5 joined by PlayStation VR 2 for virutal reality gaming and, hopefully, a PSP 5G for mobile gaming. And, crucially, all gaming systems would make use of the same core platform and store.
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