Some images have been posted on Twitter recently by Zone of Tech who claims that someone sent him images of an alleged new iteration of the PSP. Later realized to be a fairly convincing fan render, the new model looks to be of a similar design to various recent handhelds like the recently announced Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch Lite.
Given a few off details, this is a surprisingly convincing model, particularly due to the back which seems to have very tiny PlayStation face buttons etched all over it similar to the PlayStation 5’s Dualsense controller which has a similar design as well.
It would certainly be a very reasonable move for Sony to dip their feet into the handheld market again considering the recent successes of systems like the Switch and the overwhelmingly positive reception of the Steam Deck announcement.
Sony isn’t unfamiliar with the handheld market itself either. Setting a precedent with the original PlayStation Portable which I still consider to be one of the best consoles ever designed and possibly the best handheld console challenged only by the Switch Lite and the 3DS. The console was a massive success for Sony and got overwhelming support over the years hosting major franchises like Metal Gear Solid and God of War on it as well as a whole host of titles both niche and mainstream.
The PlayStation Vita, however, was sadly considered a failure in the west. Meant to be a successor to the original PSP, the VITA was more powerful with the promise of being able to offer the experience of PS2 and PS3 titles on a handheld device. While it did stick to its mark, various hurdles kept the VITA from ever being a successful device as well as Sony itself stopping its support prematurely to instead focus on the huge deal that was the PlayStation 4 at the time.
The Vita has since gained a massive fan following over the years due to its insane emulation potential, capable of playing the entire PS1 and PSP library as well as its own library, many have now flocked to the Vita for its homebrew versatility as people have slowly started to realize its true potential.
While there have always been rumors of Sony diving into the market again, for now, things seem unlikely while all of their focus at the moment is currently placed into the PlayStation 5, which has paid off for Sony in spades. It will be a good day when Sony does take that step though, as I and I assume many others would love to see the PSP make a return in one form or another.