I’m sure you know that Sony is teaming up with the Federal Trade Commission to stop Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard. The hearing, which just concluded its fifth and final day today, was surprisingly illuminating about Microsoft and Sony’s internal communications, with bits of information about the two companies’ business plans revealed through various affidavits and documents. One particular filing from Microsoft mentions Project Q, a handheld companion device for the PS5 that was announced during the PlayStation launch earlier this year. According to Microsoft lawyers, Project Q is expected to launch this year at a price “under $300”.
While this doesn’t tell us exactly how much Project Q will cost, using $300 as a reference point leads me to believe it will be somewhere between $200 and $300. $300 is possible, $250 seems most likely, and if it’s $200, that will shock some. Sony probably can’t afford to go much lower than that on hardware like this. The DualSense itself costs $70, how much can we expect to pay for one that’s cut in half with an eight-inch tablet shoved in the middle?
That’s basically all Project Q is, which is the fundamental problem with the device. In fact, an Android tablet with half of DualSense on both sides would actually be more useful, as it would still function as a tablet. The only thing Project Q can do, as far as we know, is stream PS5 games on your home network. I’d be willing to pay for a dedicated PS5 streaming device, but there’s no way I’m paying what Sony is asking for one.
The value proposition for Project Q is incredibly low. When we start thinking about it as a “under $300” console, we have to compare it to other similar consoles. $300 is the price of the new Nintendo Switch, a console that doesn’t require streaming games from another console over the same network. The same goes for the PSP and Vita, which launched at $250.
You almost certainly already have devices that do exactly what Project Q will do. If you have a DualSense controller — which you’d need anyway, since Project Q is only for PS5 owners — and a smartphone, you can use the PlayStation app to stream games. Any tablet can do this, including ones with much bigger and nicer screens like the Project Q (Jim Ryan said “HD screen”, which I understand doesn’t mean OLED) and again does everything a tablet does.
I’ve gotten to know quite a bit about handheld streaming devices, and I’m intrigued by something. The Razer Edge is a $400 mobile gaming pad that justifies its price tag with sophisticated hardware and incredible versatility. It plays Android games better than any other PDA, and it’s also great for streaming Game Pass, Geforce Now, and PlayStation Remote Play. Why buy a Project Q when you can spend a little more and get so many other ways to play games?
Anything over $200 will be death for the Project Q, but I personally wouldn’t go over $150 and consider myself an enthusiast of this kind of hardware. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in these types of devices when there are so many other options for streaming PS5 games and so many better equipped handhelds. This should have been put in as a last minute addition to the PS5 registration, but I don’t think Sony can get the price low enough to justify it.
Next up: Crash Team Rumble is a no-brainer, but good god, isn’t it