Opinion: 9 ways that Sony and developers can improve Remote Play

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Late last year I wrote a Monday Musings article on how Sony and developers could make Remote Play between PlayStation 4 and PS Vita even better. At the time I didn’t yet own a PS4 and only had what I’d read and my experiences with PS3 Remote Play to go on.

I thought I’d revisit this topic since I’ve now spent plenty of time with Sony’s Gaikai powered Remote Play service and just last week the platform holder released new system updates for PS4 and PS Vita that introduced a few improvements such as automatic pairing and the option to turn off “touch feedback” during Remote Play.

Remote Play is a great feature for PlayStation fans who own both a PS4 and PS Vita but in my opinion there are still quite a few improvements that could be introduced to make the experience of playing your home console games on a handheld device that much more enjoyable and frustration free.

Here are nine ways that I think Sony and developers can continue to improve Remote Play:

1. Give us control over where the PS Vita’s missing buttons are mapped to

The PS Vita is missing four of the controller inputs the DualShock 4 has – L3, R3, L2 and R2. Most developers either map these inputs to the quadrants of the PS Vita’s rear touchpad or place them in the four corners of its touchscreen. Every player has a different idea of where they would like the missing buttons mapped to so why not let us decide where each of the four inputs is located on the PS Vita’s touchscreen or touchpad, or let us map the missing inputs to a button or analogue stick that’s not being used by a specific game.

2. Let us pair a DualShock 4 with PS Vita when playing away from home

PS4 games are obviously designed to be played with the DualShock 4 so why is it that Sony doesn’t allow us to pair up the controller with our PS Vita for when we want to Remote Play away from home? As far as I know this is not a technical limitation since both devices support Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.


3. Don’t make using a DualShock 4 with Remote Play such a chore

It’s possible to use a DualShock 4 to control Remote Play on PS Vita when you’re within range of your PS4 but the process to set this up is not as simple as it could be. You need to have your PS Vita set to an account other than the one you want to play games on, and then access the latter account using a DualShock 4 while you’ve got Remote Play running on your PS Vita. Why can’t we just specify that we want to use a DualShock 4 as a controller at the beginning of our Remote Play session?

4. Stop locking us to whatever account our PS Vita is tied to

Account switching on PS Vita is an absolute nightmare compared to other mobile devices and unfortunately this affects Remote Play as well. Besides the DualShock 4 ‘trick’ described above, you’ll only be able to access the PS4 account that’s currently tied to your PS Vita. If I know the login details to all the accounts registered on my PS4 why should Sony block me from accessing some of them when I’m controlling my PS4 via Remote Play?

5. Let us use the PS Vita’s mic for Party Chat

The PS Vita has a perfectly capable mic yet when you try to Party Chat on PS4 via Remote Play it says no mic is attached. You can still Party Chat by launching the applicable app on PS Vita and keeping it running during Remote Play but why not allow us to use the handheld’s mic if we want to stick with the PS4 version?

6. Create a special visual mode for Remote Play

This is something I suggested in my Monday Musing article back in November and so far I haven’t seen a single developer embrace my idea of including a special Remote Play visual mode in their games in order to optimise them for the PS Vita’s 5-inch screen size. Even being given the option to increase the font size would be great as I often find that in-game text is slightly too small to read comfortably.

7. Give us a 60fps option

Certain types of games such as fighters rely on a high frame rate which is turn improves controller response. Other streaming solutions such as the one used by the Nvidia Shield allow for games to be streamed at sixty frames per second so why is it that Remote Play on PS Vita remains locked at 30fps? If 60fps isn’t technically possible then it would be nice to at least have the option to lower the resolution slightly in order to achieve a higher frame rate.

8. Include a frame rate lock option in your game

Killzone: Shadow Fall and inFamous: Second Son both received patches that introduced an option to lock the frame rate at 30 frames per second. Since Remote Play is capped at 30fps it makes sense that you’d get a smoother experience if you were streaming a game that was also locked to this frame rate. This is not something I’ve tested extensively but I thought inFamous: Second Son did feel a bit smoother and more responsive with its frame rate locked at 30fps.


9. Give us access to more system settings when using Remote Play

One of the most irritating aspects of Remote Play is when you try to adjust one of the system settings on your PS4 and you receive a message saying that that option is not available while using Remote Play. If I’ve got a direct connection between my PS4 and PS Vita then why can’t I change my PS4’s network settings? Another option that’s unavailable during Remote Play is to switch between a direct connection between your PS4 and PS Vita and an over-the-network link. Surely a good solution would be to just reboot the Remote Play connection when you switch between one of these two options.

Are there any other Remote Play improvements you’d like to see Sony and/or developers introduce in the future? Let us know in the comments.

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