This week, Sony was kind enough to release Remote Play for free over on the App Store. That made us Android folk who don’t own a Sony Xperia device feel a little left out.
Sure, we know there are workarounds but not all Android owners are tech savvy enough to mess with their phones, and might not even want to. Meanwhile, Google Play has a bunch of indie versions that can prove quite costly.
After getting a bit of FOMO, I did borrow an iOS device from a friend to check out Remote Play and see how it performs. I was pleasantly surprised.
My internet isn’t the best in the world, yet I still managed to stream every single game I tried in 1080p, pretty much without a hitch. The quality was more than good enough, and I didn’t for a second think I was missing out on anything by dropping to the smaller screen.
The only thing holding back mobile as a gaming platform is a lack of console-quality games
We’ve said for quite some time over on Droid Gamers that the only think holding the mobile platform back from being truly dominant is console quality games. The Switch has demonstrated admirably that people want these experiences in a mobile format, so why not on their phones?
And after having my interest reignited in Remote Play this week, I realised that the answer might be closer than we think. It might not be that we need console games to actually launch on mobile, or a new streaming service. Streaming might be the answer right now.
The problem is, it just isn’t quite there yet. While I had a wonderful experience streaming in my own house, I ran into problems as soon as I left. I wanted to confirm whether or not this could be a truly portable version of PlayStation but ran into two huge issues.
The first is obvious: it doesn’t support a cellular connection right now. This is quite surprising given how many of us already have unlimited data, and the connection speeds are often not to be sniffed at.
Remote Play was great over home WiFi, but we couldn’t get it to function while on the move
The second issue was less obvious. I tested Remote Play on a number of different external WiFi connections and couldn’t once connect to my PS4. It was definitely in rest mode (I double-checked when I got home) and at least one of those places had a super fast internet connection.
If I had this problem, chances are others have to. Sure enough, after a quick Google search I learned that, while many had been able to connect to their PlayStation while on the move, many others couldn’t get it working.
iOS also has a very specific Remote Play issue, and that’s that it doesn’t support the official DualShock 4. That’s pretty disappointing – especially when you consider that only one MFi controller has L3 and R3 buttons right now.
So while Remote Play offers a brilliant mobile PS4 experience, it simply can’t compete with the Switch until those kinks are ironed out. It’s in all of our interests that the issues are solved though, as the ability to play PS4 games on our phones no matter where we are would be a huge deal.
Maybe Microsoft will nail us with the Xbox One version?
Maybe Microsoft can show us all how it’s done with the Xbox version? Let’s wait and see.