The PlayStation Portal Just Got Better Thanks To A Surprise Update

3 weeks ago 45

A PlayStation Portal sits in front of a blue background.

Image: Sony / Kotaku

The PlayStation Portal is Sony’s surprisingly great Remote Play handheld for the PlayStation 5, and it’s about to get even better thanks to some new features arriving by way of the latest firmware update.

Thank You, PS Plus, For Making My Backlog Even Bigger

Outlined over on the PlayStation Blog today, the changes will begin rolling out on June 19 and includes three significant features. The first is support for sign-in screens on public Wi-Fi networks. Think coffee shops and hotel rooms, or anywhere else that requires more than just a simple password to begin accessing the internet. The new feature allows owners to scan a QR code on their PS Portal and sign-in through their smartphone.

The second new feature is improved visual feedback for the touchscreen. A translucent white box now appears on the screen when you touch it to indicate whether you’re tapping, holding, or swiping. It seems simple, but it should help the overall experience feel a little smoother and more responsive.

Gif: Sony / Kotaku

Finally, my favorite tweak is to the battery life settings. At launch, the PS Portal only displayed a bar to show how much juice the device has left. Now you can turn on a percentage number to find out exactly how much longer you have until your bedtime Balatro run is about to cut off.

The PS Portal seemed like an oddly designed, overpriced boondoggle when it was first revealed, but for those who can afford the $200 price tag for a handheld that only streams games from your existing console, it’s a really nice accessory to have around. Maybe that’s why it’s routinely out of stock and frequently the best-selling PlayStation peripheral.

In today’s blog post, Sony VP of product management, Hiromi Wakai, wrote that 60 percent of Portal owners are using Remote Play—around since the PS3-era—for the first time. He also said that online multiplayer games like Fortnite and EA Sports FC 24 are routinely some of the most played on the device, despite potential latency or framerate issues.

Given the positive reception so far, it seems like the PS Portal will continue getting updated with more features. Who knows, maybe it will even convince Sony come back with a new full-blown gaming handheld.

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