Developer Twisted, the creator of Remote Play PC (an app to use the PS4 Remote Play functionality on your PC), announced today that he will be releasing the first version of his app this Wednesday. There is a catch though: the app will not be free.
What is PS4 Remote Play PC?
The official version of PS4 Remote Play is limited to a tiny subset of Android devices: Sony XPeria smartphones and tablets. Twisted created an unofficial port of the Sony android app, and his mod enables PS4 Remote Play on most Android devices.
In parallel, Twisted has been working on a complete port of the PS4 Remote Play client for PC. This is the port that will be released this week.
Remote Play for PC will not be free
In a post on his blog today, Twisted announced that the PS4 Remote Play PC app will not be free. Although the final price needs to be confirmed, he is targeting a price point of approximately $10.
Some of you might get angry to learn that this will be a paid app. In particular on the hacking scene, we tend to assume such tools will be free, if not open source. But as a developer myself, I think it’s up to the dev to make that call, and it’s great for Twisted if he can make a living out of his work. In Twisted’s words:
I was planning on waiting until release to address this but I’ve seen it mentioned a few times and I don’t want to mislead anyone – I know a lot of you will be disappointed by this but I’m afraid Remote Play PC will not be free and you will be required to purchase it. Now before you all start shouting ‘Bloody money grabber! Release it for free!’ hear me out.
I’ve been working on this project mostly part time for over a year when the Android version was first released in October 2014. I’ve lost count the amount of hours I’ve put in over this time but I’ve enjoyed every moment working on this project which leads me onto my main point. I’d like to work on this project full time, adding features, getting it stable and porting it to other platforms which I know a lot of you want! The only way to support this is to charge for the app, all my previous projects have been free and I don’t want to have to but sadly its the only way to support my living costs. On the plus side this means I have more time to work on the project and provide support to its users, something which I’ve been limited on in the past.
But making the application a paid one could open a can of worms. First of all, users’ expectations change wildly for a paid app. People who buy Remote Play PC will expect it to actually work flawlessly. Beyond potential aggressive bug reports, I am worried of what happens the day Sony decides to increase security on their streaming system, and block Remote Play PC. Do users get a refund at that point?
Additionally, the legal status of Remote Play PC is unclear to me. Twisted has himself admitted that his Remote Play app is the result of reverse-engineering Sony’s official Android client (Update: I cannot find any statement about this anymore. Twisted has mentioned that the PC Remote play was a parallel project, not that it was directly the result of reverse engineering. I still think however that the two projects being linked are an issue, as there’s no doubt some level of reverse engineering of the PS4 streaming protocol was required, + breaking some of the encryption). In general, distributing such work is prohibited in most countries, and adding a “paid” aspect to it could be adding fuel to the fire. I feel that Twisted could easily get a “cease and desist” from Sony, and that would be the end of it. Users will be left in the cold.
This doesn’t mean the project is any less exciting than it was when Twisted first announced it. I can’t wait to try PS4 Remote Play PC, personally.
What do you guys think? Is it a good or a bad move to make it a paid app?
Heads up for those of you in the US: this week we're giving away a NES Classic Edition to one of the members of our deals mailing lists. For details on how to participate, see here.
We are constantly looking for guest bloggers at wololo.net. If you like to write, and have a strong interest in the console hacking scene, contact me either with a comment here, or in a PM on /talk!