Sony has offered PS4 Remote Play functionality for quite some time, but it was previously limited to the PlayStation Vita handheld gaming device and select Sony Xperia phones and tablets. With its release this week on the PC (and Mac, eh), Sony is taking its dominant console into territory first charted by the Xbox One. But there are a few differences.
Microsoft’s Xbox One game streaming first arrived last summer as part of its normal monthly system update schedule. This feature lets you remotely play an Xbox One (or backwards compatible Xbox 360) game on a Windows 10 PC or tablet. With two caveats: The console and PC must both be on the same (home) network, and you will need an Xbox One controller (wired or, with a dongle, wirelessly) attached to your PC. (Also, when you’re remotely gaming this way, you can’t use the Xbox One for anything else.)
With the updated PS4 Remote Play feature, your PlayStation 4 can likewise be used for PC-based remote playing. You’re not required to have Windows 10—you can also use Windows 8.1, or Mac OS X 10.10 or higher—and I believe you can use this feature even when you’re away from home, though of course you will need a very fast connection on both ends. (Let me know if I misunderstand that.)
PS4 Remote Play appears to have some curious resolution restrictions, too, which undercuts the console’s usual advantage: You can only run remote game sessions at 360p, 540p, or 720p, and the default is 540p, a far cry from the 1080p that PS4 users get via their HDTV. Frame rates are likewise a bit downgraded, with a default of 30 fps, though 60 fps is at least possible.
To use this feature, you install the PS4 Remote Play app for Windows, plug a PS4 Dual Shock 4 controller into a USB port (wireless is not supported, and you can only use a single controller), optionally configure your video settings, and then connect to the PS4.
I’m still working on making the connection—I forgot my PlayStation ID and Sony is just sofast on the password reset turnaround email—but I’ll post a few shots when/if I ever get in.