One of the most attractive and useful features for the PlayStation 4 is the ability to play and access PS4 games remotely on the PlayStation Vita anywhere that you can have a reliable internet connection. This gives owners the ability to play their PlayStation 4 games using their PS Vita while they are away from home or anywhere in their home.
All that is needed is a reliable internet connection and of course, a PlayStation 4 console and the PS Vita.
Even though there are a lot of benefits in owning a PS4 and PS Vita, we’ll only be talking about how PS4 Remote Play will work.
PS4 remote play will allow players to go from gaming on their console to seamlessly switching over to the PS Vita and taking the game on the go whether it be upstairs to the bedroom or vacation with the family.
Right now the PS Vita is more affordable than ever, has a large library of games, and has much cheaper memory cards than before. And since the Vita will be more relevant with Remote Play, it’s actually a great time to pick one up.
[Last updated November 15, 2015]
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How does PS4 remote play work?
Remote play functionality has purposely been built into the architecture of the PlayStation 4 from the beginning. With remote play in mind, Sony has essentially made the PS Vita the definitive companion device for the PS4.
Video: Greatness is Portable with PS4 and PS Vita
Using remote play, gamers have the ability to transfer their game over to the PS Vita while still being able to use the full graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 4. To make remote play between the PS4 and the PS Vita work, Sony has dramatically reduced transmission times to produce immediate gameplay, giving the gamer precision control.
Sony has also integrated some of the Gaikai technology into the PS4 system architecture turning the console essentially into a game server and the PS Vita into a client with remarkably fast connection speeds.
For the PS4 remote play functionality to work, Sony implemented a built-in h.264 video encoder to compress images to lower resolutions. This means that the 1080p framebuffer is therefore able to be downscaled to the PS Vita’s native resolution of 960×544. The images are sent over a WiFi connection to the PS Vita which in turn is able to receive the images, decode them, and send back controller input to the PS4.
The localized nature of this type of network process provides the ability for PlayStation 4 games to be played on the PS Vita’s display with input latency and image quality issues being reduced all while improving the PlayStation 4 remote play performance and experience.
How does it work with game developers?
With PS4 remote play, Sony is aiming to have every PlayStation 4 game playable with the Vita handheld console. And unlike the PlayStation 3, PS4 remote play is handled at the system level as the technology is already integrated in the console.
Sony does ask game developers to take into account the difference between the button setup of the two gaming consoles. But developers are not required to implement any extra functions or added capabilities as it is not needed.
The remote play functionality is handled by the PlayStation 4 system itself and does not require the assistance of developers for it to work with their game. This means that developers are not burdened in any way and can focus on making their PS4 game with the added benefit of it automatically being supported by remote play.
Again, Sony is not mandating remote play functionality from developers, they are simply asking for developers at minimum, to make the necessary control tweaks to provide a great experience for gamers who will be playing their games remotely on the PS Vita.
On the PlayStation 3, the issue with remote play was that there was not enough PS3 games that offered it because the support from developers was simply not there. It was an optional function and it was up to the developers to implement it because the PlayStation 3 did not handle it for them.
Developers who chose to add PS3 remote play in their game had to set aside some of the already limited memory and CPU resources in order to have remote play. Since the console’s system memory was already a precious resource, developers were reluctant to part with it just to provide remote play for the PlayStation 3. When creating their game, development teams did not give remote play high priority so it was a feature that was easily dropped.
With the PlayStation 4, it’s a different situation as PS4 remote play support is offloaded to the actual system itself and is not the responsibility of the game developer. This frees developers up to be able to provide at minimum, a proper control scheme for the PS Vita.
How to setup PS4 remote play with the PS Vita
It’s really easy to setup remote play for the PlayStation 4 with your PS Vita. The video below provided by Arekkz Gaming from YouTube gives a great explanation on how to setup PS4 remote play.
Does remote play work with ALL games?
Although Sony has stated that all PS4 games will have remote play functionality, not every game will work with remote play. Games that require the PlayStation Move, the PlayStation Camera or other peripheral hardware for a game to function will not have the ability to be emulated on the PS Vita.
If Sony decides to introduce other methods of input in the future as well, there is a good chance that they may not work with PS4 remote play.
Second screen functionality is another added benefit with PlayStation 4 remote play. Developers will have the opportunity to add PlayStation Vita specific controls into their PS4 games giving them a variety of choices and possibilities to create features that will provide benefits to gamers on an additional display.
Second screen capabilities is one of many reasons for you to purchase a PS Vita. It’s great to see that Sony is making the PS Vita even more of a relevant part of the PlayStation 4 experience. As far as using the PS Vita as a secondary controller to play PS4 games directly (instead of the DualShock 4 controller), it will only work if the developer specifically programs it to be allowed in their game, which is highly unlikely.
With PlayStation 4 having video encoding technology implemented into the system allowing screen-sharing features, gameplay recording, and remote play functionality, all the benefits of streaming technology will provide owners of the PS4 system with a true next generation experience.
[Originally published July 29, 2013]