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If Sony had decided to release another handheld after the Vita, how powerful would it have been compared to the Switch?

Elysion

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That’s something I’ve been wondering for a while. Let’s say there had been another Sony handheld, released in 2017, the same year as the Switch. And let’s say it would’ve been state-of-the-art, just like the PSP and Vita. What kind of specs would have been realistic for such a machine at the time? I’ve heard conflicting things about the Switch; some say it was already outdated by the time it came out, while others claim it was actually the best Nintendo could do for something that doubled as a handheld.

So what could we have expected from such a Sony handheld? What kind of SoC could it have used, what kind of RAM (and how much?), what kind of screen? How would games have performed on it compared to Switch? Without a dock and Joycons, could it have had the same price as the Switch, despite being (presumably) more powerful (or maybe even cheaper)? Let’s also keep in mind that Sony probably wouldn’t have required big profit margins per unit, unlike Nintendo.

Remember, this isn’t about whether such a handheld would’ve made sense from a business perspective. I’m merely interested in the possible specs and performance of a hypothetical third Sony handheld.
 
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Danjin44

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Based on history between PSP vs DS and PSVita vs 3DS, I think the gap in tech perspective between Switch and Sony handheld will be same as those.


How long people will be pissy about this whole Switch Pro!?
 
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RyRy93

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It would have been comparable in terms of power but a dedicated handheld and half the size of a Switch
 

Kokoloko85

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Probably a little more powerful but smaller. But Nintendo and now Steam Deck are changing the portable industry. I think a PSP3 wouldnt have done as well as it would do now with the current model Nintendo and Steam are going forward ( Basically console/PC games on a portable )

I think if Sony make a PSP3 in a couple of years it would be a great move.
Same with an Xbox portable. Id buy them

The tech has caught up so that they can downgrade their entire library and future library (PS5/PS4 - XBox 1/SX) to play on portable machines.

And no1 has to have dedicated studios making portable games anymore. Nintendo is making console games for the Switch. And Steam Deck is just downgrading there PC games.

PS Vita made a few mistakes, only 2 shoulder buttons, no SD card, and not enough games. They dont have any of those issues anymore and neither would Xbox.

The PSP actually sold like 80+ Million units so more than every Nintendo consoles apart from the Wii and more than the 3DS lifespan and on par with the GBA. It was very successful
 
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StateofMajora

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Guys. The switch was not underpowered as a 2017 handheld. Best Sony could do, is the step up tx2 chip. But would have had to have been a large tablet like switch, not psp size.
 

BPX

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Marty-McFly

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All of this underpowered Switch talk has been fanboy fodder from the start.

At the time of it's production, the mobile chip was pretty much the best they could do to maintain it's size and battery life.

Then it's success spawned a whole legion of stupid, salty comparisons to consoles the size or grill bbq's.

I never heard people obsessively comparing the Vita's power to the PS3 or PS4, for instance, even though Switch came much closer to replicating the full console-like experience.

There is only so much juice you can squeeze out of market friendly priced portable.

Granted, the architecture is overpriced now in 2021, but only because Nintendo is on pace to have the best selling platform ever and would be stupid to drop the price when people keep on buying.
 
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Jul 25, 2014
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For a 2017 handheld, they would have done extensive R&D since the days of the Vita years 1 & 2, and it's almost GCN winding down period, so I'd say half the horsepower of the base PS4?

Sony always aims for power and uses it as marketing/PR in their handheld space, so obviously above the Switch's Maxwell Tegra X1.

Around 1TF GCN + Jaguar (mimicking the base PS4's setup and architecture, which is already based on mobile, but even low power for this), a 7" 720p OLED screen (would be removed in later revisions and replaced with LCD), 4GB GDDR5 8GB LPDDR4, 256GB eMMC internal storage, and games heavily pushed to checkerboard and other reconstruction techniques to maintain performance.

Edit - Did a stupid mistake of including GDDR5 on a handheld device, instead of LPDDR4.
 
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jroc74

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As powerful or more powerful.
 

Zannegan

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Based on history between PSP vs DS and PSVita vs 3DS, I think the gap in tech perspective between Switch and Sony handheld will be same as those.
With how big of a jump the Switch was over the 3DS, I don't think that big of a gap would even have been possible. Sony's handhelds always seemed a console generation ahead. Meanwhile, with the Switch, Nintendo seemed to leapfrog their own next generation to land in what would have been Sony's next gen power slot.
 

kingfey

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Depends how much Sony cares about this new device. They never gave a crap about psnow at all. Let Vita rot in hell. My estimate would be NOPE. Unless they have a change of heart.
 
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01011001

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Based on history between PSP vs DS and PSVita vs 3DS, I think the gap in tech perspective between Switch and Sony handheld will be same as those.


How long people will be pissy about this whole Switch Pro!?

no way. the jump from 3DS to Switch was gigantic. even from Vita to Switch it would have been a big jump.
the Vita wasn't even powerful enough to run some PS2 games at full speed. remember how MGS2 and 3 run at 30fps at barely much of a resolution increase?

developers did all they could to emulate the look of some PS3 like graphics on Vita, but all in all it was somewhere between PS2 and PS3 in terms of GPU power.

meanwhile the Switch is more powerful than the Wii U, which already had a much more powerful GPU than the PS3 (but the CPU sucked ass)

so at best the Vita 2 would have been at around Switch Handheld mode level in terms of GPU power
 

FStubbs

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It would have been roughly as powerful as the Switch, given the mobile tech available in 2017 for a consumer device. Could Sony have created some magic device that was significantly stronger? Perhaps but it would have ended up being way too expensive to be viable. Something a generation ahead would've been impossible then.

Not having a generational advantage over the Switch may have been one (smaller) reason why Sony dropped handhelds, as that was the one thing they could count on in that space with PSP and Vita.
 

Danjin44

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no way. the jump from 3DS to Switch was gigantic. even from Vita to Switch it would have been a big jump.
the Vita wasn't even powerful enough to run some PS2 games at full speed. remember how MGS2 and 3 run at 30fps at barely much of a resolution increase?

developers did all they could to emulate the look of some PS3 like graphics on Vita, but all in all it was somewhere between PS2 and PS3 in terms of GPU power.

meanwhile the Switch is more powerful than the Wii U, which already had a much more powerful GPU than the PS3 (but the CPU sucked ass)

so at best the Vita 2 would have been at around Switch Handheld mode level in terms of GPU power
I'm no expert when comes to tech but I believe Sony could create powerful handheld but like F FStubbs said it would overly too expansive and still would not able to beat Nintendo when it comes handheld market like they couldn't with PSP and PSVita.

And also Sony currently chasing western market.
 

Kagero

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Probably a little more powerful but smaller. But Nintendo and now Steam Deck and changing the portable industry. I think a PSP3 wouldnt have done as well as it would do now with the current model Nintendo and Steam are going forward ( Basically console/PC games on a portable )

I think if Sony make a PSP3 in a couple of years it would be a great move.
Same with an Xbox portable. Id buy them

The tech has caught up so that they can downgrade their entire library and future library (PS5/PS4 - XBox 1/SX) to play on portable machines.

And no1 has to have dedicated studios making portable games anymore. Nintendo is making console games for the Switch. And Steam Deck is just downgrading there PC games.

PS Vita made a few mistakes, only 2 shoulder buttons, no SD card, and not enough games. They dont have any of those issues anymore and neither would Xbox.

The PSP actually sold like 80+ Million units so more than every Nintendo consoles apart from the Wii and more than the 3DS lifespan and on par with the GBA. It was very successful
Excellent comment 👍
 

StateofMajora

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For a 2017 handheld, they would have done extensive R&D since the days of the Vita years 1 & 2, and it's almost GCN winding down period, so I'd say half the horsepower of the base PS4?

Sony always aims for power and uses it as marketing/PR in their handheld space, so obviously above the Switch's Maxwell Tegra X1.

Around 1TF GCN + Jaguar (mimicking the base PS4's setup and architecture, which is already based on mobile, but even low power for this), a 7" 720p OLED screen (would be removed in later revisions and replaced with LCD), 4GB GDDR5, 256GB eMMC internal storage, and games heavily pushed to checkerboard and other reconstruction techniques to maintain performance.
No way it would be that powerful it’d be a nuclear reactor with 20 minute battery life
 

Husky

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I think it might've actually been weaker. The Switch was designed to function both as a handheld and as a conventional console, and unless we had two competing switches, Sony may have gone for a smaller, weaker device. They might've also aimed for a longer battery life, especially if it's only portable.
One argument for why Sony woulda made a hybrid is that the PS Vita had a microconsole release, the PS TV. But I kinda imagine that any TV functionality would feel more like a smart TV box that can also play some pretty cool games, especially as Sony already maintains a TV console. Can you believe the PS TV couldn't use Netflix? Too low res to be a smart TV box anyway. Big missed opportunity.
 
Jul 25, 2014
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No way it would be that powerful it’d be a nuclear reactor with 20 minute battery life


If Nintendo, a company that rips the end consumer off on hardware margins like Apple, on top of their software margins and royalty, can include a 4310 mAh Li-On battery in their flagship handheld console, Sony, (albeit anti-consumer in other areas like backward compatibility, digital purchase refunds, game preservation, server shutdowns for old games etc,) a company that relies on royalty and software margins alone in all of their console business, with even selling close to cost in all their consoles except the PS3 and now the PS5 Digital where they sold at operating losses to later recoup them with software revenue, WILL have a FAR BETTER solution for a battery in their flagship handheld game console, if this device was indeed released in 2017 as a PSP successor.

Besides, I did overshoot (not intentionally, just completely forgot the handheld part for that part alone) that spec list with desktop GDDR5 in there which doesn't make any sense, edited it to LPDDR4 now, instead.