Remote play

A forgotten PS4 feature just became essential during coronavirus quarantine

Remember Remote Play? It's far easier to set up than it sounds.

People are playing more video games than perhaps ever before because of social isolation spurred on by the coronavirus, and it's just made an oft-forgotten PlayStation 4 feature incredibly useful. Depending on your situation, gaming may be difficult if you're sharing the TV with other people. A great way for players to fix this problem is with the PS4's Remote Play feature that plenty of gamers probably ignored until now.

Remote Play allows players to stream the PS4's visuals straight to their PC, Mac, iPhones, Android phones, PlayStation TV, or PS Vita. That means you can use any of your PS4's features via a secondary screen, still using your PS4 controller while somebody does something else on the TV.

Sony's Remote Play feature has been around on the PS4 for quite some time (it was also included on the PS3!) but only added support for Android devices in October 2019. Sony also launched a lengthy survey in February 2020 to assess interest in expanding the feature even further, which is a good indication that they'll invest developmental energy into expanding the feature even further on the PlayStation 5 and beyond.

For those sharing a television in times of quarantine, Remote Play is an ideal resource that can transform almost any of your other devices into a secondary screen — and it's fairly easy to set up.

Step 1: Download the PS4 Remote Play App

Before you can even dive into PS4 Remote Play, you'll need to download the compatible app on whatever device you want to use.

To get started with Remote Play, go to the Sony's website for Mac or PC, Google Play for Android device, or the iOS App Store for iOS devices and install the PS4 Remote Play app. Versions of the service should be pre-installed on your PS Vita or PlayStation TV if you're using one of those more niche devices. Once it's downloaded, open it up and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Configure your PS4 for Remote Play

Your current PS4 settings may need to be adjusted before you proceed further. Per Sony's official resource page, follow these steps in case the following conditions are relevant to you:

  • Make sure Remote Play is enabled. Select (Settings) > [Remote Play Connection Settings], and then select the checkbox for [Enable Remote Play].
  • Your console must be your primary PS4 system. Select (Settings) > [Account Management] > [Activate as Your Primary PS4] > [Activate].
  • You can also enable Remote Play even while your PS4 system is in rest mode. Select (Settings) > [Power Save Settings] > [Set Features Available in Rest Mode]. Then select the checkboxes for [Stay Connected to the Internet] and [Enable Turning On PS4 from Network].

Step 3: Start the Connection Process

As soon as you download the app, it will ask you to sign in to your PSN account and will start searching for your PS4 automatically. (Be sure they're connected to the same wifi network.) This may take up to several minutes, but if your PS4 is on it will connect to the app and start the process of streaming. You should then see your PS4 home screen displayed on whatever device you are streaming to.

Step 4: Start Playing!

You are now connected to your PS4, and whatever would appear on your television should also be displayed on your computer, phone, or PS Vita screen. For controls, you have a couple of different options; unfortunately, keyboard and mouse isn't one of them outside of basic functionalities like pausing or using the PS button to go to the home screen.

For the best controls, you'll want to connect a DualShock 4. This can either be done through a wired connection to the device or via a Bluetooth connection. While not preferable to the controller, the mobile app does technically have built-in controllers with analog sticks, all of the buttons, and even the vibration you would have with a DualShock 4 controller.

Me after finding out how PS4 Remote Play works.Shutterstock

Choose what game you want to play, hop in, and enjoy! Keep in mind that Remote Play is working off the connection to the console, so poor internet speeds could worsen the experience with a low resolution and frame rate. Still, if your connection is good this is a great way to play fun PS4 games like God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, and Call of Duty: Warzone even when you don't have direct access to the TV your console is connected to.

Just make sure your housemate is streaming The Expanse from a different device entirely that's plugged into a separate HDMI port, and you're all set.

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