The next generation of consoles is finally here, and one of the surprise features that Sony had for us was PS5 Remote Play. This feature was stealthily added to PS4 consoles shortly before the launch of the Playstation 5 in the United States, and enables you to remotely control and use your – or your friends’ – PS5.
But, thankfully, this feature was not made exclusive to the Playstation platform, as Sony also released a Remote Play app for the PC. While Remote Play is not one of the flagship features of the next generation for Sony, it’s still a very nice feature.
The use cases for this are various, especially in households with only one television, or people wanting to show off their character in Demon’s Souls or let a friend play the game who was not lucky enough to get a PS5 for launch day. With availability similar trying to find the lost city of Atlantis, remote play will probably see a fair amount of use around the launch period as retailers struggle to fill pre-orders and people fight against scalpers for the few units available for sale online.
For people who’ve been following me on Twitter or are part of our Discord (link in description, btw), you’ll know that while Paul managed to get a PS5 I sadly did not. So, I decided to take a look at remote play and give you my honest thoughts on it.
Firstly, lets take a look at ease of use and setup.
No matter if you’re using your own PS5 remotely or a friends’, you need to be logged into the same account as the PS5’s owner – but, you do have the capability to use it remotely. This isn’t just a case of you can only use it if you’re in the same household. At the time of testing, I was over 60 miles away from Paul’s location, and I will say that it worked flawlessly on my PC.
Setup was fairly easy, you simply download the remote play app and enter the email address and password for the account on the PS5. Once this has been done, you can connect remotely to the PS5 and also change the resolution settings.
Here you can set the resolution for both Playstation 5 and 4 consoles, going up to 1080p on both, although you will need a PS4 Pro to have 1080p on the previous gen console. The PS5 also has HDR capabilities for remote play, but naturally you do need a HDR compatible monitor or TV to make this work.
We opted for SDR on both ends, to ensure there is consistency between the two images. Because of Windows’ unique relationship with HDR, but there will be a future video where we test HDR, wired connections and more.
For all of my sessions testing out remote play, I used 1080p for the resolution of the output.
I’m happy to report that setup on the PS5 was also pretty easy as well. Simply navigate to settings > system > remote play. You can then see Enable Remote Play, Link Device and Connection History. Enable Remote Play and then head to Link Device and the PS5 will spit out a code that the PC user needs to put in.
It may take a moment to connect on the remote play app, but with the right login info and the code, it should make the connection and put you straight onto the PS5 dashboard.
As I previously said, setup on the PC app was flawless and it worked without a hitch. Sadly, the PS4 is a different story. I just could not get this working, even after ensuring I was on the correct account, with the most up to date system drivers.
The bizarre thing was, no error message was ever presented to me. It just refused to connect without telling me the issue. I of course attempted to troubleshoot the issue, but all of my solutions sadly did not bare fruit.
So this video is going to just focus on the PC use case scenario.
With that out of the way, let’s address probably the biggest question surrounding this – the one of latency and how it was to play.
Gameplay and latency
I played two games for my testing of the remote play feature – Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remake and Insomniac’s Spider Man Miles Morales.
Demon’s Souls was the first game I tried out, and I’m happy to report that the latency didn’t interfere with play. I felt no input delay at all between my button press and my character doing the action on screen. Latency is obviously going to kill any game if the delay is long enough, but especially in the case for DeSR because From Software don’t believe in the pause button.
Joking aside, while of course I don’t have a PS5 at my disposal to test it on as a comparison, I felt no noticeable input lag while playing through the game.
However, I did do some latency tests using Shadowplay. I held my controller next to my mic and did various actions – attacking, parrying, switching weapons and menu navigation. Then, I timed the frames in between button press and character action using my editing software to calculate the latency. It ranged from 66ms to 100ms at the highest, with an average of 80ms latency. Considering both my PC and Paul’s PS5 were connected over wifi, and this isn’t counting any latency added by Shadowplay itself, I was very impressed with this result.
I expected it to be on the low side, as I already said, I could not feel any input delay at all when playing.
The same can be said for Miles Morales. I deliberately wanted to test this game out as a counterpoint to DeSR due to the fast paced nature of the world traversal with the web slinging, and of course the Arkham style combat. Thankfully, though, again I felt no input delay at all between button press and character action and the game felt smooth and satisfying to play.
Sadly, though, that isn’t to say remote play was without issue. While 95% of the time both titles tested ran flawlessly, there was the occasional hiccup. What happened is hard to describe, but it was like all of a sudden I could see the game’s pixels from space and I could barely see what was happening. Thankfully, these blips were just that – blips. A quick pause – or cheeky press of the photo mode button, in DeSR’s case – and the issue was usually gone within a matter of seconds.
But keep in mind one very important thing – my PC was connected to my internet via wifi rather than via ethernet cable. It may very well be that if your setup is able to have a direct connection via ethernet, these minor hiccups would be even less frequent or disappear completely.
As with anything like this, your mileage may vary based on your internet speeds, but the results of my playtime and tests were pretty impressive.
Comparison vs PS5
To truly examine the difference in quality vs native PS5 gameplay and remote play, we captured the footage simultaneously on remote play and the console itself, and examined the footage next to each other in a direct comparison.
There is definitely some loss of quality in the finer details, for example if you take a look at this freeze frame comparison of the Armour Spider boss fight. There is definitely blurriness in the face of the boss especially, and the game definitely suffers more in darker areas.
Moving over to the Phalanx boss room, you can see some artificating on the shadows which I have highlighted here. Generally though, as you see across the footage the main difference is in the finer details.
For example, if you look at the Digger King archstone, you can definitely see some of the finer details of the stonework look a little blurry on remote play. But it still looks very good in my opinion.
Again though, do keep in mind, this was ALL over wifi, both on my end and on Paul’s. The PS5 is doing all of his on the fly, and there is of course going to be some compression. But the amount of compression is very very minimal. it’s hardly a shocker that there is some compression going on on Remote play, but I was pretty impressed with how minimal the difference between the two.
Even on Spiderman Miles Morales, the story is the same. If you take a look at this shot here where I’m on a helipad, there is some loss of detail on the buildings and some compression artifacting on the clouds.
You can also see some artifacting in a cutscene here as well, with the shadows looking a touch blocky behind Miles in this particular image.
When it’s in motion though, these details aren’t enough to spoil the experience. I’m pretty impressed overall with how remote play performed over all of our testing and my general gameplay experience.
That’s not to say that’s without issues – as mentioned before there are definitely hiccups where the internet starts to struggle and the quality takes a huge dip into pixel town.
But as I also stated earlier, these blips are transitory and don’t last more than a few seconds. The experience is not perfect, and of course nothing can replace the real thing, but overall remote play provides a low latency experience that doesn’t effect gameplay, and while there is naturally compression as I detailed earlier – it’s minimal. It can be boiled down to some blurriness on some of the finer details, and some compression artifacts in the darker areas.
To be honest, my overall thoughts on remote play are very positive. I expected the latency to be very small given I did not notice it gameplay, and I also expected the difference between the two in terms of quality to be minimal as well.
So to answer the question of this video – would I recommend remote play on PC? Yes. Yes I would. As I mentioned though, your mileage will vary based on your internet speed and reliability, but based on my experience I would recommend PS5 remote play on PC. Below you can find a gallery of all the stills I took from the footage, and of course there is the video which you can watch here.