Back in December, Sony Interactive Entertainment President Jim Ryan told Game Informer the company had no plans to manufacture another handheld console, saying matter-of-factly, "it’s a business that we’re no longer in now." Even with the launch of PS5 looming, that came as disappointing – if not wholly surprising – news to fans of the PSP and Vita. Yet gamers who want to take their favorite PlayStation games on the go might have a new reason for hope.
A post from user YouRedditHereFirst to the PS4 subreddit detailed a recent email survey they received from PlayStation. Developers and hardware makers send these kinds of things around to registered users now and then to get feedback on games and services. On the surface, there's nothing out of the ordinary going on here. However, dig a little deeper and there are some pretty intriguing questions being asked here.
The spiciest meatball of the bunch? Using Remote Play to use PlayStation games on a Nintendo Switch. Now that's something we never expected to see.
The current functionality of Remote Play is pretty limited: it basically allows you to use your PS4 games on a second screen elsewhere on your home Wi-Fi network. However, most of us have pretty lousy home Wi-Fi networks with loads of devices, so playing Sekiro in the bathtub hasn't exactly become a massive trend.
The survey also mentions "offline" Remote Play, but it's not totally clear what form that would take, and whether you'd need a Wi-Fi tether to your console. In a subsequent edit to the post, the user also clarifies they were asked about using Remote Play with an Xbox console as well. Old-school gamers will likely find the prospect of easier access to PS1 and PS2 titles pretty enticing as well.
However, it's the Switch's portability that makes it the most eye-catching hypothetical of the bunch, particularly if we take Sony at its word and assume they aren't building a new piece of handheld hardware.
The Switch already has a formidable library of games, but who wouldn't mind taking God of War or Marvel's Spider-Man on a long plane flight. Hell, even if those games wouldn't work on, there are dozens of hours of fun to be had rediscovering past-gen titles like the Suikoden series, or Persona 3 and 4.
While this might sound like a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, it's not totally outside the realm of possibility. Xbox Live is accessible via Switch, Android and iOS. While there's no Xbox Games Pass functionality for Switch, it's been a long-rumored possibility. Perhaps we could see Sony roll out a subscription-based service for past-gen games, which would also be playable on mobile devices and even competitor consoles. It wouldn't be the first time the two rivals teamed up on a big project: the original PlayStation grew out of a collaboration to make a CD-ROM drive for the Super Nintendo in the late 90s.
Then again, Sony's carved out a reputation for itself as being a holdout when it comes to cross-play functionality with competitor platforms. It's also no secret that Nintendo's had a barnstorming 2019, with sales of the Switch already outpacing the Xbox One. The long-rumored Switch Pro seems to have been put on the back burner to allow Nintendo to keep riding its current high; perhaps the company wouldn't feel the need to team up with its biggest competitor.
Then again, it would enable Sony and Nintendo to ward off competition from Microsoft and Google Stadia, so it's not totally outside the realm of possibility. Given the fact-finding nature of this survey, we're likely a long way off from hearing anything definitive about this hypothetical venture.
The PlayStation 5 is set to be released later this year.