Look at me, streaming Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition to a tiny black box from a game console in an entirely different room. Truly, we live in magical times.
The PlayStation TV arrives in US and Canada tomorrow, and in Australia on November 14, bringing with it nearly all the powers of a PlayStation Vita. And while I'm in it for playing my favourite Japanese role-playing games from the Vita, PSP and PS1 Classics era on my television, many others are excited about the prospect of streaming PlayStation 4 games from one room to the other.
I must admit, the feature doesn't excite me much. On the Vita proper, being able to pick up my game and wander into the bathroom with it is really cool. The PlayStation TV is fixed to whichever television you connect it to, so it's great if you want to move from one room to the other. I can see where that would be handy — kids watching something on cable in the main room, playing in the bedroom without having to own to PS4s — but it doesn't really do it for me.
That doesn't mean it's not neat, mind you.
Once you've finished setting up your PlayStation TV, it's time to connect to the PlayStation 4.
As long as your PlayStation TV and PlayStation 4 are on the same network, this should be a simple matter of starting up the PS4 Link program pn the PSTV and searching for it. If for some reason you've got a segmented home network, you might have to go to your PS4 and retrieve a setup code.
I will tell you this right now — if you have to resort to the setup code option, you're going to have a less-than-optimal experience. The ideal here is both systems wired into the same network — that's physically wired. Wireless will work, but unless you've got a nice dual-band router, the lag is going to be annoying.
I tried wireless streaming on my less-than-lovely router several times, and was plagued by lag, screen tearing and disconnects. I really, really need a good router — suggestions are welcome.
Eventually, I wound up moving about every networked item in my home to ensure both devices were connected via wire to the same router. After a bit of trial and error, things started going my way. If you watch the video below, you'll witness me transitioning from wounded scepticism to pleasant surprise, as Diablo III suddenly starts behaving like a real game.
Lag is always going to be an issue with streaming games over networks. The tech is basically streaming video from one device to the other, while communicating input in the other direction. The key is minimising that lag. Once my connection issues worked themselves out, Diablo III suddenly went from frustrating to quite playable.
I followed that up with a brief bit of Driveclub, which surprisingly allowed me to connect online, something it hadn't done since the game launched last Tuesday. I was fully expecting lag to kill this demanding high-speed racer, but was delighted to discover otherwise.
In short, my experience with PlayStation 4 Remote Play on the PlayStation TV lines up with the experience Richard Eisenbeis had with Japan's Vita TV when the functionality was patched in earlier this year. That ever-present smidgeon of lag might be a deal-breaker for precision online shooters, but when you get the configuration just right, it's not a bad little feature.
Now back to playing Vita and PSP games.