PS4 Remote Play, Put To The Test

PS4 Remote Play, Put To The Test

The PlayStation 4's Remote Play functionality might be one of the system's coolest features, at least in theory: the idea of being able to switch between the big screen and the Vita for just about any game is undeniably appealing to a ton of people — especially the ones who share their televisions with loved ones or other nuisances.

The good news is this: when Remote Play works, it works well. You can play tons of PS4 games on your Vita smoothly and without interruption, and they look pretty damn good on the Vita's small screen.

The bad news is that after extensive testing over the past two days, I've found that, in its current state, Remote Play is inconsistent. It won't work at all on our office Internet, it's laggy and choppy on Stephen's slow Brooklyn connection, and even on my home network, which is rather fast, I can't move very far from my television without losing connection.

Let's start with the good: sitting in my living room, six or seven feet away from my television, I was able to play through games like Assassin's Creed IV and Battlefield 4 on my Vita without an issue. The Vita will mirror whatever is on the screen, and players can use the Vita as either their main screen, their controller, or both.

Here's what it looks like in my apartment:

PS4 Remote Play, Put To The Test

Sometimes, during my tests, there was a slight delay between what was on the television and what was on the Vita, but it wasn't significant. Fractions of seconds. For a game like Madden, though, that could be annoying — try to imagine hearing announcers talking on your TV and then on your Vita just a tiny bit later, and you'll get what I'm saying. (Muting one machine solves that problem pretty easily.)

Another small annoyance: since the Vita doesn't have two back triggers, different games use different button configurations to account for that. Some of those configurations require the back touchpad of the Vita, which is very easy to accidentally bump and touch. (Especially if you're not wearing pants, and you decide to rest the Vita on your knee like you might with a controller.)

Those niggles aside, games ran smoothly for me — at least within a short radius. When testing the system in different parts of my apartment, I found that games would occasionally lag at the 15-20-feet range, and shut off entirely after 20 feet or so. Here's what happened when I tried to take a Madden session from my living room to my bathroom, about 25 feet away from my PS4.

PS4 Remote Play, Put To The Test

Next-gen pixels! (A few seconds later, it disconnected.)

In case you're wondering, my home connection speed, according to the PS4's connection test, downloads at 15.1 megabytes per second and uploads at 1.0 megabytes per second.

In the office, we couldn't get Remote Play working at all, but you might chalk that up to Internet issues involving our office firewall: we're still looking into what happened there.

Sony recommends that you keep your Vita and PS4 on the same WiFi network for optimal use, but just for kicks, I also tested with other Kotaku staffers to see if we could get this thing working with different WiFi networks. Could Patricia use her Vita from San Francisco to control my PS4 in NYC? Nope. Could I use my Vita from uptown Manhattan to control Evan's PS4 downtown? Nope. Other permutations were equally unsuccessful.

So here's the verdict: right out of the box, Remote Play works well if you want to sit in the living room, playing PS4 games on a portable screen. Try to move much further, though, and you might have problems. At least for now.


    Yeah... Sitting on the couch without pants on and your 'knee' keeps hitting the rear touch panel... Riiiiight...

    so what factors into the limited range? to which do you have to be near, the tv, the ps4, or the modem? coz if it's all 3, then that defeats the purpose.

      It's based on the network you're on (WiFi) - so the range issue isn't form the TV it's from his router. And will also be affected by the wireless from the PS4 to the router (if you connect that way). So if your WiFi is good and not crowded by other networks close by you should be fine within the average home.

      Technically it also works outside your network - so truly remote play - but the Australian networks (phone, cable etc) just can't keep up so this will only be good to play PS4 in another room on your Vita.

      Still an awesome piece of networking prowess.

        The trick is to have your PS4 cabled to the router, and have a decent wireless router that gives good speeds throughout the house.

      Home WiFi (Wireless N, preferrably) will be the only one quick enough to handle it. Trying to play it externally (over 3G/4G, ADSL, etc) just isn't fast enough to stream the data to your Vita in real time. Blame the limitations of modern communications infrastructure more than anything.

    I've used mine a few times already and haven't had a single hiccup with audio and video going out of sync or lagging - but they really need an option to remap the buttons. Having L2/R2 L3/R3 on the four corners of the rear touchpad is massively ungainly, especially for an FPS like Killzone where L2/R2 are aim and shoot.

    Add the button configuration and it'll be perfect.

    I'd suggest if people are having issues with lag or sync, if you're not on wireless N, I'd be looking into it, or ways to boost your signal - you're going to need WiFi's full bandwidth available to make the most of this. So if you're in the crapper with a weak signal, it's not going to work too well.

    Why is it using my internet connection? Why can't the PS4 use bluetooth or create it's own wifi hotspot to connect directly to the Vita?

      You can choose to connect directly to the PS4 via adhoc WiFi if you want. It's in the Remote Play setup options on the PS4.

      Last edited 29/11/13 9:07 am

    That's disappointing... I thought it'd work better after reading this.

      Blame our telcos and infrastructure - the technology works great. It's only limited by the connection it's got to use, and sadly, Australian comms infrastructure is generally pretty garbage.

      That being said, even if it did work over 3G/4G - imagine the data usage - you'd eat data plans like nobody's business and get charged through the nose for it.

        Yeah, but the guy writing this article was testing in New York and still having issues. But the guy on the Eurogamer article seemed not to be having such problems.

        Agreed, If using wifi then download and upload speed would be a 'null test'.
        I would not imagine that it would have a problem with the speed was 15/1 MegaBytes... Perhaps it was supposed to read 15/1 Megabits? (that would be a slightly above average ADSL connection in AUS).

        If this was tested in NY they probably have different speeds, so might be correct?
        If so, AUS internet will not have a chance in hell!

        Last edited 29/11/13 1:17 pm

    The fastest/best way to setup remote play, is to have your PS4 wired into your home network, and have multiple access points wired to your internet connection/each other around your house broadcasting the wireless signal.

    I used vita remote play across town. I have my ps4 hooked up by ethernet, and i drove about 3 miles to my mothers house and it worked. Granted there was some stuttering and it looked a little grainy but it worked. *Note: While connected my Vita only had a 60% connection to the wifi used.

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