Dec 28, 2023 6 min read

How the surprisingly delightful PlayStation Portal redefined my gaming limits

Here's how Sony's PlayStation Portal remote play handheld delivers a flawless PS5 experience anywhere.

PlayStation Portal

Here's how Sony's PlayStation Portal remote play handheld delivers a flawless PS5 experience anywhere.

Sony’s latest handheld device, the PlayStation Portal, has — to the surprise of some — proven rather popular, selling out almost immediately once stock hits stores.

However, opinions on the device itself are divided — with some questioning its worth, purpose, and intended user base. All of which I want to address here today. Let me start by saying the PlayStation Portal has been one of the best devices I’ve used in a long timeand I’m so glad it exists.

The PlayStation Portal

First, let’s discuss what the device is capable of. The PlayStation Portal is a remote-play handheld device that allows players to stream content directly from their PS5 consoles to the Portal over Wi-Fi. Aside from that, it does nothing. It doesn’t have its own interface — it simply connects to a PS5 and mimics what would otherwise be on your TV screen over on the Portal instead.

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Here’s the exciting part: despite what people initially thought, the device will work whether you’re at home or not. As long as you have a decent-ish internet connection, you can play your PS5 from anywhere in the world.

Now I know that the PlayStation Portal isn’t going to appeal to everyone; many people will have no use for it, and that’s okay. But for that small (and judging by the number of units sold, it’s not really that small a number) amount of people that it does serve a purpose for, it’s an absolute game changer – and this is absolutely the case for me. 

The PlayStation Portal ready to use

A Look into the PlayStation Portal: A Personal Perspective

So, a little about me: I’m a full-time carer, working with adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours. I will often work 24–48-hour shifts three times a week. As you can probably imagine, this is quite a physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding job. This can mean that as well as having very little time to be at home to play games, when I am home, I don’t have the mental capacity to do so. This has been a problem for me for quite some time – until now.

Let me run you through a typical day at work for Chelly – I start work at 8am and wait for the person I care for to wake up. Get them showered and dressed, serve breakfast, and then go out in the car for the day, usually returning around 4pm. From this point, it is a case of preparing an evening meal for them and getting them ready for bed, usually at around 6pm. This means that from 6pm onwards, I can do what I want, whether watching TV, writing, or going to bed. Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to spend that free time playing some of the newest PlayStation games? Enter the PlayStation Portal.

I am that person who purchases games and never plays them, and I hate that person. Obviously, I buy them with the intent of playing them, but because of my work schedule, I never seem to get around to playing them. As such, my intention behind picking up the PlayStation Portal (announced back in May) was to begin making a dent in that ever-growing backlog I have — if the device worked well enough.

Cut to my first 24-hour shift since owning the device, and I was counting down the minutes until my client went to bed so that I could see if the PlayStation Portal would not only work as well as I had hoped, but also if it was capable of playing the games that I wanted to use it for.

6pm rolls around, and I whip the Portal out quicker than you can say its name. I boot it up for the first time, connect to the internet (which isn’t great at the client’s house, by the way), perform all the necessary updates, and connect to my PS5 console remotely — and I’m shocked that it just works seamlessly. My PS5 home screen is quite literally in the palm of my hands, and I’m smiling from ear to ear. 

Call of Duty on the PlayStation Portal

For a bit of extra context, I am in a long-distance relationship. I live near Birmingham, and my partner lives near Liverpool. I drive down weekly to spend time there, and, in the meantime, my PlayStation 5 console lives there to save me hauling it back and forth each week. So, the fact that I’m sitting at work almost two hours away on my PS5 is extraordinary to me.

I choose to load up a game I’ve played many times over, but had yet to experience on my PlayStation, and that’s Borderlands Game of the Year edition. I played it for hours and had a blast. The device worked flawlessly for me, with no latency issues or disconnections. 

PS5 play without boundaries

Since then, every shift I’m on, I will bring my PlayStation Portal, and come 6pm, I will play something that I’ve been meaning to for a long while. I’ve played through the entirety of Borderlands, Immortals Fenyx Rising, and I’ve started Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. These are games that I wouldn’t have touched had I not had the PlayStation Portal

Immortals Fenyx Rising on PlayStation Portal

I find myself having more time for games than ever before, and at a time I would’ve likely spent hours aimlessly scrolling on my phone or even just heading to bed out of sheer boredom. Instead, thanks to the PlayStation Portal, I’m getting the love I once had for games when I had all the time in the world to play them back. 

I’m just one person of many who could and would get enjoyment and use from the PlayStation Portal. I can see it being beneficial for parents who struggle to get that gaming time in due to needing to keep their little ones occupied with the TV, or even in a situation where you can use the PlayStation Portal while your partner watches their favourite show on the TV. 

Yes, I hope the device has more capabilities in the future, but for now, it’s delivering something to me that I haven’t had in a good while – time for gaming

This is my story, and I hope it helps to give some explanation as to why the PlayStation Portal was a much-needed device for a not-so-small group of people.

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