If you want to play console games when you’re away from your TV, you basically have to play on the Nintendo Switch. Not only does Switch offer a smooth transition between TV and portable play, but the form factor of the device made it easy to use. Otherwise, if you didn’t own a Switch, the option was Sony’s Remote Play, which offered the ability to play PS4 games while away from your console, either on a PC, a PlayStation Vita or even on a Sony Xperia phone. It wasn’t the most elegant solution due to lag from streaming the games over a wireless internet connection, but it was an option. This alternative option just became a lot more accessible to a lot more people however, following the announcement that PS4 remote play was now possible on iOS devices.
Yesterday, Sony released a special Remote Play application on the Apple App Store and updated PS4 systems to version 6.50, which allowed a PS4 to remotely connect with an iOS device and allow the user to play any PS4 game on their mobile device or tablet. You could even play anything, from Yakuza to Persona and everything in between. In theory, this made a whole host of PlayStation 4 titles playable on the go in a much more accessible way than it ever was before.
However, there’s a catch. While it is accessible, the ways in which you play the game make it probably more of a last resort than an alternative option. The primary issue is that a DualShock 4 is not compatible in any way whatsoever. This leaves you with multiple options, none of which are all that ideal. On the one hand, you can use a mobile controller if you want tactile physical buttons, although this creates a much bulkier device and the need to connect and disconnect from a mobile device make it only a viable option for iPad users if we’re being realistic. Otherwise, you’re stuck with touch screen buttons. If you play in portrait mode, a tiny gameplay screen will be displayed while a huge black box will be underneath showing all the buttons on a DualShock 4. In landscape mode, the buttons sit on top of the gameplay, obscuring the game itself.
Mobile gaming has the potential to create very enjoyable experiences when the device is used to its full potential. When streaming a game as is being offered through Remote Play, it’s difficult to make it feel like anything but a compromise as it becomes a requirement to adapt the gameplay identically in order for it to function. I struggle to think of many ways where such a playstyle would be desirable, even for a slow, long RPG, and though it’s nice to have the option, I can’t say it’s a great one, at least from an outside perspective as someone yet to try it for themselves.
Sony’s Remote Play, if you’re interested, is now available on iOS devices and requires a PS4 console in order to use it. Alternatively, Remote Play is also possible on PlayStation Vita, Sony mobile phones and PC.