from the modify-your-expectations dept
Late last year, we discussed how an application modder named Twisted had managed to push Sony, the megalith corporation, into producing a remote play PC application for its Playstation 4 console. Twisted had previously managed to crack open Sony's Android remote play application, originally designed to work only on Sony brand smartphones, so that any Android user could play the PS4 on the go. This, of course, made the PS4 product more useful and added a feature to potential console buyers that Sony had, for some reason, decided to restrict. Xperia phones, it should be noted, aren't exactly jumping off the shelves at stores, but Playstation 4 consoles certainly are. Then Twisted announced he was going to release a PC version of the app. Sony had not released any PC version of its remote play functionality. But shortly after Twisted's announcement, Sony too announced it would be releasing a remote play for PC application.
And with a PS4 update that was released on April 6th, Sony's remote play for PC is here. I've tried it out. And it's...okay? Strangely, it appears to do much of what Twisted's application does, but not everything. It's starts with the requirements:
-Windows 8.1Whereas Twisted's app works just fine with Windows 7. I'm struggling to figure out why a guy could get it to work with the operating system that over a third of PC users are still using, but a giant company couldn't. Oh well.
-Windows 10 or later
-OS X 10.10
-OS X 10.11
But the biggest thing missing from Sony's PC application is what made Twisted's efforts so useful for those trying to do some gaming away from their console, especially when traveling or away from the home.
You can use one DualShock 4 as the controller for Remote Play, which needs to be connected to your PC / Mac via a USB cable."Can" should be read as "must." There doesn't appear to be any way to map controller buttons to the keyboard, no way to use your PCs mouse, and no overlay of the controller on the screen within the application. Twisted's apps have all of these options. Honestly, it's what makes gaming on the go so easy, in that you can use the touch screen of a phone or Windows tablet to play on the go.
Look, this release from Sony is a good thing. It opens up functionality that was possible but didn't exist officially before. But what's most striking about this release, to me, is that Sony's application didn't measure up to that produced by a single modder, not to mention that that same modder's efforts for Android users are still necessary because Sony hasn't realized that making an official smart phone remote play app would massively increase the value of its console overall. So, it's a step forward, but a small step.