When PlayStation 4 users updated their consoles to the latest 6.50 firmware this week, they received an update that now allows them to use the Remote Play feature on iOS devices. Remote play has previously been a feature in Sony’s handheld platforms such as the PlayStation Portable and the soon-to-be defunct PlayStation Vita, but bringing the feature iOS will give even more users the opportunity to try it out.
Sony's Remote Play feature basically lets users activate and control the home console from a mobile device. This includes the ability to play games on-the-go. Remote Play wirelessly transmits a game’s audio and visual information is to the external device; the console still handles the actual processing work. Though a welcomed idea, the feature wasn’t wholly supported in the PS3 library. Sony corrected course by making it a mandatory feature for all PS4 games (excluding titles that heavily rely on non-DualShock peripherals like the Move or Eye). Over the years, Sony has brought Remote Play to other platforms such as its old Xperia Smartphones, Windows PC, and Mac.
After updating the console, Sony’s blog post explains that iPad and iPhone users will, of course, need to download the Remote Play app from the App Store. Players will also need a PSN account, though that probably goes without saying. Gameindustry.biz further explains that iOS users can play their PS4 games and use other functions, such as sending messages and connecting to voice chat. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t support the use of a DualShock 4 controller. The PS4 button layout is instead overlaid onto the iOS screen for simplified navigation. This limitation could always change in future updates but there’s no indication of such at the moment.
Less touted features of update 6.50 include the ability to broadcast in 720p in Niconico Live, a Japanese streaming service. Players can also head to the Settings and change the “Enter” function from the X button to the circle button à la many Japanese games.
This timing of this update seems somewhat appropriate. With Microsoft allegedly planning to introduce Xbox functionality to other gaming platforms in the near future, it might behoove Sony to make similar expansions however small. The company has already been dragged kicking and screaming into the cross-play arena. It needs to continue showing that it won’t be as stubborn to cross-pollinate with other ecosystems its massive player base may engage with.