Sony is resurrecting the PlayStation Portable for the PS5, but what if they built an XPERIA Play instead?

The rumor mill is delivering on the news of an upcoming PSP-style handheld gaming console from Sony. Pretty credible leaks say that Sony is looking to bolster their PlayStation Plus service by allowing people to play their PS5 games anywhere, and is working on a handheld gaming device that’s internally referred to as Q-Lite. “It looks like a PS5 controller but with an 8-inch LCD touchscreen in the middle,” says Tom Henderson from Insider Gaming, as Sony is looking to take on the handheld gaming behemoths Nintendo and Valve, along with recent-entry, ASUS. The new handheld PlayStation is poised to launch before Sony debuts the PS5 Pro, and that had me wondering… why launch a handheld console when you could revive the XPERIA line almost single-handedly? This conceptual PlayStation XPERIA device by Santosh Palaniappan shows what could have been if Sony made a gaming smartphone instead. With a sliding display that reveals the controls underneath, and a triple-camera setup, the PlayStation XPERIA could have been an absolute banger. As a smartphone, it would be able to do a lot of things that a gaming controller wouldn’t, including things like messaging, browsing the internet, sharing selfies, watching movies, and streaming gameplay directly to your friends and fans on social media.

Designer: Santosh Palaniappan

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The PlayStation XPERIA is the perfect hybrid between a smartphone and a gaming device. It comes with a massive touch-sensitive display, but slide the display to the right and you’ve suddenly got two thumb-sticks, a D-Pad, and four action buttons, along with what I presume is another backlit, touch-sensitive trapezoid that’s also seen on the DualSense controller. Other controls include L1 and R1 buttons on the corners of the phone when held in landscape mode.

The PlayStation XPERIA comes with a wonderful balance between the two product categories’ design languages. You’ve got something that has the exact template of a smartphone, with the aesthetic of a PS5. The white and black interplay feels rather wonderful to the eye, and the device also comes with two textured grips on the rear, complete with the PlayStation symbol microtexture seen on the PS5. The 3-lens camera array follows the curvature of the grip too, giving it visual similarity.

A close look at the L1 button

The PlayStation XPERIA may be a gaming device, but it’s first and foremost a smartphone. You’ve got a triple-lens camera on the back for phenomenal pictures, and a dual-lens front-facing camera for regular and wide-angle selfies. Front-facing speakers make watching media on the phone absolutely exhilarating, and that experience extends to gameplay too. Slide the screen outwards and the phone turns into a handheld console. The PlayStation XPERIA doesn’t cut corners when it comes to controls, offering almost every control you could ask for.

Close-up of the microtexture on the gripping pads

Although conceptual, it would be wonderful to see Sony revive the XPERIA as an extension of its highly popular gaming line – after all, they’ve made weirder products in the past. Given the cancellation of E3, Sony will probably announce its own summer event soon, where one can expect either a formal unveiling of the Q-Lite device or a hint at it. Reports indicate that it’ll support adaptive streaming up to 1080p and 60 FPS, requiring constant internet access for Remote Play. Unfortunately, it won’t stream games from the cloud, but rather from your existing PS5.