Remote Play, the ability to use your PlayStation 3 via your PSP or PS Vita over the internet, is an excellent feature that has always worked better in theory than in practice. Only a few PlayStation 3 games have supported the feature, but as fun as it is to play Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Tokyo Jungle on a portable, the diminished visual quality and delayed control response of Remote Play has never made it an appealing prospect. Even playing PSOne games over the feature is a laggy bummer. Sony is hoping that the PS Vita and the newly announced PlayStation 4 will give Remote Play not just a second chance, but life as a major selling point for the company’s game consoles.
During the PlayStation 4 announcement on Wednesday, Sony described the PS Vita as “the ultimate companion device for PS4,” demonstrating Remote Play of Mark Cerny’s new game Knack running on the handheld. While Sony is planning to introduce a variety of second screen content for use on all smartphones and tablets in conjunction with PS4 games, only the Vita will be able to stream games from the PlayStation 4, using the console as a server for games the handheld hardware couldn’t run on its own. The goal also, according to Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida, is to have all PS4 games supporting the feature.
In an interview with Engadget, Yoshida confirmed that Sony is pushing its development partners to get its games ready for the Remote Play feature, going so far as to make sure to at least test the feature before submitting PS4 game code for approval. Not just to make that the feature is supported, but to make sure that the game’s controls take best advantage of the handheld’s interface.
“Some PS Vita games make use of the edge of the screen to add contextual buttons,” said Yoshida, “That works really well, I think, and it’s easy to use. So that kind of thing I’d like to see developers do on PS Vita over Remote Play.”
As exciting a prospect as Remote Play is for the scant few PS Vita owners out in the wild, it must be equally frustrating for Nintendo whose Wii U console is built around similar functionality. Many Wii U games, however, don’t allow players to stream Wii U games to the screen on its tablet controller since the screen is used for in game controls. Will Sony leverage the Vita as a PS4 controller in the same way?