I was probably more excited than most when the news broke that the PS4 would be getting the ability to Remote Play to PC. See, I’m a massive fan of Remote Play. In fact, I seem to just like playing my consoles in ways that they weren’t meant to be played. I’ve long been an avid PS Vita fan and I’ve probably completed around half the PS4 games I own via Remote Play.
So when I booted up the Remote Play app on my PC today, I was admittedly a little giddy – now I had another way of playing my games while my other half hogs the TV to binge watch crap on Netflix. I’ve longed to be able to play the PS4 with a DualShock 4 away from the main TV for a long while, and while the Vita certainly does a decent job, it’s just a wee bit annoying at times, especially with first-person shooters; those little analogue sticks just don’t cut the cheese for me.
I’m happy to say, then, that the PS4 Remote Play works rather nicely on PC, though it’s not completely without fault. Despite writing for a PlayStation-centric website, I’m actually quite fond of the Xbox One, too, and I spend a fair bit of time playing Microsoft’s machine from the comfort of my sofa, bed, bath – you get the idea – via Windows 10 streaming. I’ve never found it to be a problem even with my somewhat crappy DSL broadband. [I recently moved house and have had to downgrade from top-end internet to bog-standard pauper-vision. It hurts.]
I can’t speak about Remote Play without bringing in the competitor for comparison. They’re basically doing the same thing: steaming the content from the console onto another device in your home network. Upon loading up the Remote Play app I was easily connected to my PS4 and it was only moments before I saw the familiar dashboard on an unfamiliar screen (desktop, in case you’re wondering). I opted to go full-throttle and cranked the settings as high as possible (720p, 60FPS) and dived into Star Wars Battlefront.
One thing was immediately clear: it’s not so good, at least not on my connection. The stream seemed to be all over the place and I couldn’t land a decent shot to save my poor Rebel’s life. Within five minutes I’d closed the window and resorted to lowering the setting down. Finally, it resembled what I knew, but it still wasn’t spot-on. The image quality isn’t great and that’s not something I’ve ever noticed when using Remote Play on the PS Vita, though I guess the Vita’ smaller screen hides all the impurities. The steam was stuttery for the first few minutes before leveling out to provide a smooth enough experience.
But why is it not silky smooth? Why isn’t it providing my eyes with the goods they’re accustomed to? I’m not too sensitive to the whole resolution debate (personally, I couldn’t care less as I’m of the school of thought that gameplay takes precedence), so it couldn’t be that. Perplexed, I booted up the Xbox One and started streaming. As always, I headed straight for the settings and turned them up to high, and as usual, it didn’t even flinch. It’s a tad annoying that Sony’s Remote Play solution for PC isn’t quite up to snuff but I’m happy enough that I’ll be able to get into bed with my laptop and run riot in Just Cause 3.
It’s probably worth bearing in mind that this is the first release of the PS4 Remote Play PC app so it’s possible that it’ll be optimised further in the future. Basically: it’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible and it’ll do if you’re just wanting a mess around before turning out the lights. Here’s hoping that future software updates for the app help sand down the rough edges on an otherwise great little option.
Oh, and before you try it: no, PS Now still doesn’t work with Remote Play. I know because I tried in vain. Next up: PS Now PC app? Hopefully.
Have you tried the PS4 Remote Play app on PC? Has it worked perfectly for you, or have you also had a few hiccups? Share your brainwaves in the comments section below.