Ever since Sony launched the Playstation 4 console in November of 2013, remote play was a big feature that Sony pushed as one that made the console stand out against it’s competitors. At launch, only the Playstation Vita could actually play PS4 games via remote play, but it worked pretty well despite running games at a lower resolution! A year later Sony launched the Playstation TV, an ill-fated microconsole containing Vita guts, which also supported PS4 remote play. Unfortunately, Sony strangely botched the remote play functionality in the PSTV by running remote sessions significantly worse than its Vita counterpart. Remote play functionality started to appear in Sony’s flagship Xperia Z line of smart phones and even in their smart televisions as well. At this point the remote play functionality became a big key feature for console manufacturers to support and other companies like Valve and Microsoft began to follow suit.
Microsoft’s answer to remote play came packaged with Windows 10 last Summer that allowed Windows 10 PCs to stream Xbox One games through an Xbox app. While Xbox One streaming worked extremely well depending on your home networking hardware and your computer speed, the feature was tied down to the Windows 10 operating system only. Xbox One owners with a previous version of Windows or even a Apple computer were left behind in favor of Microsoft’s new hotness. Now Sony has stepped in and launched their own PC remote play app that allows any PC or Mac to stream Playstation 4 games as long as the hardware and OS are modern enough to support it. How well does PC remote play perform? Pretty well actually!
Make sure your PC is compatible with remote play first. Sony recommends:
- A Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 PC with at least 2GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 560M processor or better.
- A Mac with OS X Yosmite or El Capitan, at least 2GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5 520M processor or better.
First off, in order to play PS4 games on your PC, you must upgrade your console to firmware version 3.50. Along with several new features, version 3.50 enables PC remote play functionality on your PS4 console. Afterwards, make sure your console is connected to the same home network that your PC is connected to and download the Remote Play Installer client HERE. For the best results I highly recommend hard-wiring both your PC and Playstation 4 via ethernet cables for a more stable connection. Once installed, simply power on your PS4, plug your Dual Shock 4 controller into your PC via USB cable, and click Start on the PC remote play software. If the software fails to automatically find your PS4 console, you can click the Manual button to enter a numeric key given to you by the remote play settings on your PS4 console. I personally had no issues getting my PC to find my PS4 automatically so after a brief minute my PS4 system menu appeared on my PC monitor and I was ready to rock.
Remote play performance will vary depending on what hardware you’re rocking in your home. I ran the software on a custom built gaming PC with an Intel Core i7 4790K processor, 16GB of RAM, an nVidia Geforce GTX 970 4GB video card and a Dell 1080p monitor. My PC and Playstation 4 are networked to a hardwired 30 down, 5 up cable internet connection using a Netgear N600 dual band router. While my gaming PC is quite powerful, my router and connection are fairly standard.
I figured for my first real test I should load up Bloodborne. Due to the fast paced combat and quick response times needed to properly play Bloodborne, the game should be able to tell me quickly whether or not I’m getting any major input lag through remote play. I set the remote play software to the 720p resolution (the highest supported) and the highest setting for framerate, all of which will require the maximum bandwidth in order to function properly. Once I launched the game and headed out into the world of Yharnam, I began hacking through large groups of enemies and even being summoned as a cooperator by another player during a boss fight. During my time spent with Bloodborne, I didn’t notice any significant input lag or framerate drops (not already caused by the game itself at least) that hindered gameplay. I was able to take out numerous enemies and a boss without feeling like I was being handicapped by lag. In other words, the remote play software passed the test!
Next I loaded up a multiplayer game of Rocket League to test the software with a multiplayer title. I played an entire match without noticing any major lag or late input responses, nor did the multiplayer connection feel laggy. Overall, while not necessarily a demanding game on an internet connection, the software once again passed the test with Rocket League.
Compared to my experiences with remote play on Xbox One via Windows 10, the experience was pretty much the same using Sony’s solution and both ran very smooth with little to no input lag on my end. I was pretty happy with the results. The only negatives I noticed about the software is that it will only support resolutions at 720p or lower and must stay running in a window despite maximizing the window to a full screen size.
Overall, I found that remote play with a PC worked much better than what I experienced with both the Playstation Vita and the Playstation TV. Given, I was running the remote play software on a much higher end piece of hardware, yet I was also running it on the same network too. I find it sad that a Vita running on WiFi ran much smoother than a Playstation TV running via ethernet, but either way the PC remote software trumped both of them in terms of display, latency and framerate. If you’re network supports it and your PC or Mac happens to be rocking at least a Intel Core i5 processor (which most modern systems do), Sony’s Playstation 4 remote play feature is easily the best way to play your PS4 games in another room.