Remote Play PC for PS4: review
Remote Play PC is an unofficial tool that uses the PS4 Remote Play functionality to play your PS4 from your PC screen. This is useful for example if your kids or significant other are watching the TV and you want to play the PS4.
Twisted, the developer of Remote Play PC, is also known for porting Remote Play to Android (the official Remote Play client from Sony is only compatible with the Xperia devices)
Disclaimer: this review is based on the publicly released product, that I purchased. I haven’t received a free copy of Remote Play PC or any other benefits in exchange for this review.
Remote Play PC: Download & Install
Fir of all, keep in mind that Remote Play PC is not a free application. Although the download is free, you’ll need to purchase a license (6.5£, approx $10) on the author’s official site. For those who don’t want to pay for a Remote Play app on PC, keep in mind that it is possible to Remote play on your PC for Free through an Android emulator.
Once you have a license, you can download the Setup file from the author’s site our from our link: Download Remote Play PC for PS4
The purchase process goes through Paypal and is very simple. Within seconds of paying the fee on paypal, I got an email from the system, which contained my license key. That key is required when running the application for the first time, and the license lets you use Remote Play PC on 5 machines simultaneously, which is pretty good. Once you’ve activated 5 devices, you’ll need to deactivate one of them through the official site, if you want to replace it with another machine.
Developer Twisted has a page that describes the whole install process, so I will not go into details here. The purchase and install process took me roughly 10 minutes and was extremely smooth and user friendly.
Remote Play PC: Connect your PS4 to your PC client
Detecting and connecting to the PS4 from the Remote Play PC client was also extremely easy.
To register your PC with the PS4 for the first time:
- ensure that your PC and PS4 are connected on the same network (this is only needed for registration. After that, you can connect to your PS4 from a different network)
- Go to “Remote Play Settings” in your PS4’s system menu, and select “Add a Device”. This will display a code, that you have to enter on the PC client
- You’ll also need to enter your PS4 user ID
Again, details are on the PC Remote Play tool page so I won’t go into details
Once registered, in order to connect to your PS4, use the “connect” button on the PC client. You can either enter your PS4’s IP directly, or use the “scan” feature.
It’s worth noting that the IP will be useful once you want to connect to your PS4 from a different network (if you’re travelling, or want to show off at a friend’s party…). The scan feature, however, is the most convenient if your PC and PS4 are on the same network.
This sounds complex, but the whole process is extremely streamlined, and within 15 minutes I had purchased the app, downloaded it, installed it, and I was looking at my PS4’s menu on my PC. The whole installation experience is user friendly.
Remote Play PC: Initial setup
The Remote Play PC’s app default settings were enough to get me started without thinking too much about it. Keep in mind that connecting your PC to the PS4 will deactivate your DS4, and instead your PC’s keyboard is now the controller.
Controlling the PS4 menu with your keyboard is straightforward enough: use the arrow keys to control, space is for “X” and F is for Circle, by default (E,R,D,F represent the 4 action buttons).
Of course, once you run games, the keyboard will prove inefficient on most games, and you’ll prefer to control your PS4 with an actual gamepad. A game like “race the sun” was easy enough to play on the keyboard, though.
Once I started running Injustice, things got complicated and I had to install a gamepad. I was able to connect my Dualshock 3 on Windows 10 using the SCP Driver (and if some of you are interested on how to do that I’ll discuss it one of these days), and configuration in the Remote Play PC settings window was easy and fast.
Remote Play PC: general impressions and performance
This is a good time to describe my gear and configuration here. My computer is a Lenovo gaming laptop that was bought in 2011. It was an average gaming machine at the time, and is definitely sub-par nowadays. It had absolutely no issue taking the video stream from the PS4, so I am convinced that any reasonably recent laptop/desktop can run the app without a problem. From the network perspective, my PC is connected to the Network via a LAN cable, and the PS4 is connected via Wifi. As other sites have reported, you’ll get much better performance with the two devices connected via LAN, and possible terrible results if both devices are connected on the Wifi. At the minimum, it is recommended that either the PS4 or your PC is connected via LAN.
Once I had my gamepad configured, playing the PS4 remotely was generally a bliss. We’ve mentioned before how Twisted has ironed out lag issues in Remote Play PC before the release, and it shows. The whole experience is extremely responsive, and to call this an “alpha” release is not doing justice to the app. Injustice and Rocket League were playable at my level of skills, and although I’m sure competitive players will feel there is some sort of ping, I could see that it was very minimal.
I was initially impressed with the video quality (Remote Play PC defaulted me to 720p, 30 fps), but after a while I got annoyed at how visible the pixels can be in 720p. Video quality was ok, but of course not as good as what you experience on your TV. Check the screenshots above and below to get an idea.
Note: Some applications such as Netflix or amazon Video will give you a black screen on Remote Play PC. This is decided by the PS4, and is not up to the author of Remote Play PC: some applications are not compatible with remote play, most likely for license reasons. Thankfully, I have not found a single game that gave me that issue, so it might be limited to video apps.
Not everything was perfect though. I felt that some of the controls on my DS3 were not responding correctly, and/or that up and down got inverted (this was particularly obvious in Rocket League where I was missing all my attempts at flying). Other people have reported this on the official forums.
Maybe more importantly, after a while it seems my PC was in desync with the PS4, and the streaming quality went from OK to unplayable within 5 minutes at some point. It’s frequent to see video compression artifacts, and they’re in general not a big problem but it’s worth mentioning. Here again, keep in mind that my PS4 is on Wifi, and connecting it through LAN would most likely mitigate the issue, if not fix it completely.
Remote Play PC, despite being an unofficial tool, is very polished and feels extremely professional. If you were waiting for an official release from Sony, it doesn’t get any better than this and is probably worth the $10 if you have a use for Remote Play on your PC. As I mentioned before, I’m still very concerned that Sony could decide to go after Twisted with a cease and desist or some other legal action, if they feel this threatens their business in any way. Technically, they could also find ways to block this in future firmware upgrades. If that is the case, paying customers of Remote Play PC will be at the mercy of regular updates from the author. Last but not least, it is not clear if using Remote Play PC is in breach of the PSN Terms and conditions, so there is a bit of a grey area here for users. In other words, pay the $10 knowing what you’re getting into.
That being said, again, this is a very good app, and worth the money as long as you accept the risks mentioned above. I started this review thinking that Hackinformer was overly generous by giving his app a 10/10 in his own review, and I still think a 10/10 is just ridiculous, but I have to admit the app is very good.
Note: at the time of this writing, the app is temporarily unavailable for purchase, but should be back soon.
You can download Remote Play PC here. remember that you’ll need a license from the official site in order to run it. For those who don’t want to pay for a Remote Play app on PC, keep in mind that it is possible to Remote play on your PC for Free through an Android emulator.