If you own one of Sony’s high-end Xperia phones or tablets, you’ll be delighted to know that you can stream PS4 games straight to your phone. Here’s how.
Sony’s latest flagship phone, the Sony Xperia Z3, comes with a new feature — Remote Play. While it wasn’t available when the phone was launched, Sony recently turned it on. If you own a PlayStation 4, you’ll be able to stream games to your phone and play those games with either a PS4 DualShock controller or with onscreen controls.
If you already own the Xperia Z2 or Z2 Tablet, the good news is that Sony has enabled Remote Play for those devices as well. And while modders have managed to get Remote Play working on other devices, that involves a bunch of work that most people won’t bother with, since it involves rooting and flashing certain files to trick the app into thinking it’s running on a Sony-certified device.
Anyhow, if you already own the official devices, here’s how to get started. I used the Xperia Z3 for this.
Setting up is really easy. First, you’ll need to download the PlayStation Remote Play app from the Google Play Store. Remember how I said it doesn’t work if you don’t have a compatible device? Google Play won’t let you download the app unless you do.
Once you have the app installed on your Xperia phone, you’ll need to ensure that Remote Play is turned on in your PlayStation 4 settings. Navigate to Settings > View Controller Guide > Register and turn it on.
When you first start up the app, it will ask if you want to connect the PS4 DualShock controller to the phone. If you only have one controller, I suggest skipping this step for now. This is because you may need to use the controller when setting up and if you only have one, you won’t be able to do so since it will be locked to the phone until you pair it again to the PS4. That said, you can return to doing this any time by clicking on the settings button in the app.
Before you begin pairing the Xperia phone and the PS4, make sure both devices are on the same home network, then hit the search button on the app. If the phone doesn’t detect the PS4 (like in my case) automatically, you can still use a number code to pair up your devices.
Ideally, you’ll want the PS4 to be on an Ethernet connection, but Remote Play will still work even if both devices are on Wi-Fi. Also, if you’re away from home, you can also connect to the PS4, though it’s best not to do this with a mobile connection as it will chomp through your data plan. Connecting this way does take a while, so it’s really not recommended. Latency was also an issue — it takes ages for your input instructions to be relayed back and forth through the Internet.
If you have a fast connection, you can also make the video quality better by heading to Settings > Video Quality for Remote Play and switch it to High.
One controller to rule them all
To get the best experience from Remote Play, it’s best to use the DualShock controller with the phone. You can buy a clip-on mount, the Game Control Mount GCM10, that lets you attach your Z3 to the controller, though this method can be tiring after a while as the combined weight is fairly hefty.
I suggest putting the phone somewhere you can see, such as on the table, and holding the controller normally. It’s also best to have a dedicated controller if you think you’ll be using Remote Play a good deal, since it’s quite tedious to switch between pairing with the phone and the PS4.
If you choose not to use the DualShock controller, the Remote Play app does have onscreen controls, but they take up quite a bit of screen real estate, and aren’t very useful for fast action games such as Call of Duty.
What you can expect?
While streaming quality was generally smooth, the whole process is really dependent on your router being able to handle the load (especially if you choose the highest quality stream). Depending on the action on the screen, you may see artifacts and noise that aren’t apparent in the original on the TV.
Also, if you’re trying to aim on the comparatively tiny display in first-person shooters, good luck. Unless you have exceptional eyesight, you’ll be squinting most of the time or holding the screen really close to make things out.
Of course, if you’re using Remote Play on the larger Z3 Tablet, that shouldn’t be a problem. Smaller screens are less of an issue with games such as Driveclub, in which you’re just driving a car around.
Sony and Android
Sony will keep this exclusive to its own devices for now (it needs to, given the company’s dismal mobile business results), so it’s unlikely you’ll see this feature appearing on other Android handsets any time soon. That includes those that have been certified PlayStation-compatible, which only means they’re able to use DualShock controllers to play Android games.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always check out our guide on how to root your phone, and then with a bit of work, you can get Remote Play working on your Android device.