For some time now, there have been rumors going around that Sony is working on a competitor to the Nintendo Switch, and the company’s recent patents have provided certain clues as to what this device would look like.
Several pieces of evidence point towards a device that looks like a tablet, with control buttons and analogs similar to a DualShock 4 Controller placed on either side. Generally, it is precisely what you’d expect a Sony Switch to be. However, these are still rumors, and there is no guarantee that it will actually end up like that.
In fact, there is no guarantee that this handheld is even being developed. Sony has firmly denied the rumors right from the beginning, and the patents might just be distractions or just something under research and development.
What could a Switch competitor from Sony be like?
If a Switch competitor from Sony is actually in the works, it is unlikely that it would be a Vita-like portable console or just a direct copy of the Nintendo Switch. Instead, it would probably look more like an Android phone.
There are a couple of reasons why this is the approach that makes the most sense. First of all, Sony already has experience in developing Android smartphones, so making one that puts a heavier emphasis on games will not be too huge of a change. Secondly, after the struggles of the PSP and PS Vita, it seems unlikely that the company would want to step back into that market.
Does a mobile device make the most sense?
While Sony’s handheld consoles didn’t do too well, mobile phones are an entirely different matter. Nowadays, almost every single person on this planet owns a mobile phone, and if there is a pocket device that can perform the functions of a regular phone while being capable of playing triple-A titles, there will undoubtedly be no shortage of customers.
However, for this to work, the first thing Sony would have to do is ensuring that the device is powerful enough. With the latest technologies like Tegra X2 or maybe even the upcoming Xavier, it would not be too difficult for Sony’s phones to out-perform the Switch.
If that is the case, it would mean users will be able to play games like Skyrim or DOOM on their smartphones. In fact, if the Sony smartphone wants to compete with the Nintendo Switch, it would have to have the same third-party games as the Switch.
First party content is still critical
While third-party games are important, first-party content is also another absolute necessity. Otherwise, why would customers want to purchase this device over Nintendo’s console? Luckily, Sony has plenty of content across the PS2, PS3, and maybe even PS4 that would perform perfectly on a portable device.
The company could also try porting some Vita exclusives such Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Killzone: Mercenary to this new device. That would be more than enough content for users to play through while Sony works on new titles designed specifically for the phone.
PS Now would not be a bad idea on the device either. It would definitely be strong enough to run most of that content. It is true that game streaming still requires a lot of work, but it would be a welcomed extra feature.
Solid controls would be another thing that demands attention
A decent controller option is another vital feature. Something that is attached to the phone or maybe serves as a case would do nicely. A dock is also a must since most users would demand that they could connect the device to their TVs to play on the big screen. Furthermore, it is essential that the controller be comfortable enough to play for long hours.
Moreover, this device is still a phone, so it would have to have all the functions of a top-tier phone, namely stunning displays and gorgeous camera. If this phone could be on par with other competitors such as the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S10 in these aspects, its ability to run console-quality games would definitely set it apart from the rest of the pack.
Could a device like that beat the Switch?
It is highly likely that if such a device existed, it would absolutely own the Nintendo Switch. The only argument against it would be that it would cost a lot, probably at around $750 to $1,000. However, one could also counter-argue that the latest phones on the market already cost as much.