The Nintendo Switch Pro is one of the worst kept secrets in the gaming industry right now, with a whole series of leaks pointing towards a 4K-capable, DLSS-packing new handheld with upgraded screen, more powerful internal hardware, and an all-new design that will release later this year.
The Nintendo Switch Pro looks set on paper to seamlessly carry on the BigN's dominance of the handheld gaming market, with the next-gen console joining the original Nintendo Switch and more streamlined Nintendo Switch Lite.
What isn't one of the worst kept secrets in the gaming industry, in comparison, is the Sony PSP 5G, which is the whispered super-secret Skunk Works-style project that the Japanese console maker is currently working on to complement the PS5 and PlayStation VR 2.
Nothing concrete at all is known yet about the PSP 5G, if it exists at all, but as T3 has written about Sony seems perfectly positioned to release such a system thanks to its business-wide competencies. And, if it does, these are the five things we think it could do with delivering in order to beat the Nintendo Switch Pro.
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1. Deliver 5G-enabled game streaming
No leak or rumor about the Nintendo Switch Pro has mentioned it is coming with a 5G modem and, simply put, it looks incredibly unlikely that the next-gen handheld will offer that functionality. Nintendo is a very conservative company historically and doesn't have the tech in its own wheel house, and that points to 5G no-show on Pro.
On the contrary, though, Sony is a master of 5G technology, with it embedded in many aspects of its businesses, from professional cameras to mobile phones. As such it would be, on paper, very easy for the Japanese firm to add a 5G chip to a handheld games console and unlock true portable gaming, with no game cart, digital download or WiFi connection necessary for play.
2. Allow PS5 games to be played on the go
Nintendo seems firmly wedded to a game cart delivery system first approach, and it seems very unlikely that it will ditch that with Nintendo Switch Pro.
Now, the last time Sony attempted a handheld console, which was the PS Vita, it made a number of mistakes but one of the biggest was that it heavily relied on proprietary software, which was no where near bountiful enough to build momentum.
If Sony were to release a streaming-focused PSP 5G, though, then that console could run any game that already existed on the PlayStation store, including PS5 games.
After all, with games being powered by remote hardware and then streamed to the PSP 5G, the handheld would not need its own powerful local hardware. This means that it wouldn't need to have proprietary games and could instead just be another way to PS5 games but on the go.
3. Offer a unified PlayStation store experience
Despite Sony reversing its decision, the streamlining of its virtual store offering is something that can only be seen as a good thing – and also something that would make it easier to introduce a PSP 5G console.
After all, if the PSP 5G was merely a type of dumb-terminal with controls, screen and 5G modem and it was capable of streaming any PlayStation games to it, then it makes sense that it has access to one unified PlayStation software store, as VR titles aside, it would be capable of running anything.
This would be awesome for PS5 gamers as they could browse games in store on their PSP 5G or PS5 and no that they could play them, that there would be no "sorry, you need this hardware to play" message hidden on the product page.
In contrast, the Nintendo Switch family of consoles, while all no doubt still going to use the Nintendo eShop, will have to deal with the fact that different consoles will have different technical abilities. Some games, and notably new flagship titles, will look and run better on Nintendo Switch Pro than on Nintendo Switch Lite, for example.
And that could lead to a messier, less unified offering in the Nintendo Store, with some games maybe not even being playable on legacy Switch consoles.
4. Come bundled with a PlayStation Now trial
Another area where Sony may not be a master but certainly has strong competency is in terms of its online game streaming PlayStation Now platform, which is something that Nintendo gets nowhere near in terms of its own offering through Nintendo Switch.
And, as the PSP 5G would be a handheld console that rested primarily on streaming, a close synchronisation with PS Now seems common sense and, really, a match made in heaven. After all, while Xbox Game Pass is the gold standard in terms of Netflix-for-games subscription services, the Xbox platform does not have a handheld console option.
If the PSP 5G not only provided seamless access to PS Now but actually came bundled with a free trial (for a month, say), gamers would, day-one, have access to a catalogue of hundreds of top games to play. There would be no, "well I can only afford one or two games at launch" problem, as gamers would have instant access to hundreds.
This again would likely contrast really well to the Nintendo Switch Pro, which would demand full game prices for each title bought.
5. Undercut the Nintendo Switch Pro on cost
And, talking of software value, another area where the PSP 5G could best the Nintendo Switch Pro is in terms of hardware cost.
All leaks point to a Nintendo Switch dripping with local, in the console, upgraded hardware – and advanced hardware, too. That all costs money, and with the original Nintendo Switch debuting at a price point of $299.99 / £299.99 / AU$469.95, it seems very likely that the Nintendo Switch Pro will retail for the same price if not more. Indeed, the most reported rumoured price for Nintendo Switch Pro is $399.99 / £399.99 / approx AU$570.
The PSP 5G, though, wouldn't need all that expensive internal hardware. A chassis, set of controls, screen and 5G modem, maybe with an SD card slot for digital game storage, is all that would be needed. And that would come in much cheaper. You only have to look at how cheap 5G phones are right now to see what could be possible. You can bag a quality 5G phone now for around $200 / £200 / AU$400 and it would be no surprise to see a PSP 5G launch at $199 / £199 / approx. AU$300 as a result.
And, at that price, the PSP 5G could be half the cost of the Nintendo Switch Pro and come with hundreds of games to play out of the box.
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