Do you hear that distant rumbling? That’s the sound of an oncoming avalanche of handheld consoles sparked by the Nintendo Switch and the Valve Steam Deck, with Verizon revealing today that it’s partnered with Razer for a game streaming focused device that will lean heavily on 5G for performance and marketing.
The news was shared by Verizon today at the Mobile World Congress Las Vegas 2022 show, and along with a short teaser video providing brief glimpses of the hardware, the company announced that it had partnered with both Qualcomm and Razer for the device it boasts as being the “world’s first 5G Gaming Handheld built on the Snapdragon® G3X Gen 1 Gaming Platform...” Verizon also referred to the handheld as the Razer Edge 5G, which may or may not be the final name—we won’t know for certain until its full debut on October 15 at RazerCon 2022.
Details are sparse for the time being, but if the hardware in the video teaser reflects the finalized device, the Razer Edge 5G will feature asymmetrical analog sticks, a D-pad, and a pair of shoulder buttons, including a trigger, on either side, paired with an additional smaller button in each corner. Verizon says the handheld will run Android like the recently announced Logitech G Cloud, and will be able to play games “whether they are downloaded to play locally, streamed from your console or accessed directly from the cloud...”
Like the Logitech G Cloud, the Razer Edge 5G probably won’t be as powerful a handheld as the Steam Deck, which can install and run PC games at a decent performance level, but will hopefully be able to handle most games designed to be played on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Come October 15, we hope to see pricing details revealed, including whether or not Verizon will provide mobile 5G plans specifically for the handheld. There’s a lot of excitement for these types of devices that can play AAA titles through cloud streaming, but given their limited capabilities, pricing them just right will be a challenge. Logitech’s G Cloud will sell for $349, which is just $50 less than the cheapest Steam Deck model. For these less capable alternatives to be successful, they need to be priced a lot cheaper if they want to convince consumers not to just use a controller with the streaming-capable smartphones they’ve already paid a small fortune for.