Talking Point: Why PS4's Remote Play Requirements Represent a Lesson Learned
Posted by Sammy Barker
You should always be cautious when Sony reveals an exciting new feature. While the platform holder is never short on ideas, it regularly drops the ball on interesting initiatives. Take the Eye Toy: the PlayStation 2 peripheral could be seen as a precursor to the phenomenal success of both the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360 Kinect, but instead of doubling down on the idea, the Japanese giant simply cast it aside at the start of the current generation. Yes, the company continued to experiment with camera-based technologies and motion controls, but never on the same scale as its competitors. And it lost a lot of headway in the market that it had helped to pioneer as a result.
This criticism can be applied to some of the system-wide technologies that the platform holder has dabbled in, too. Near, the geo-location application included with the PlayStation Vita, should have cemented itself as the natural successor to the Nintendo 3DS’ infinitely more popular Street Pass by now, but the company’s inability to educate consumers on how to use the software has left the feature an unused bubble on the handheld’s home screen. The same is true of a wealth of PlayStation 3 attributes, such as the ability to capture and upload YouTube footage, as well as save screenshots to the XMB. These are functions that developers have the option to use, but never do.
And, of course, the big one is Remote Play. While this was touted as the second coming of a certain biblical luminary by some upper executives, it never really reached a tenth of its potential on the PlayStation Portable and the PS3. Some of this can be put down to the various hardware restrictions that hampered the feature, but such issues are not solely to blame. Sony’s general lack of faith in the idea and its decision to allow publishers to choose when to implement it severely limited its usefulness, despite jailbreak hacks proving that the functionality is more or less compatible with all games.
However, the reports coming out of Digital Foundry earlier today show that the company’s changed its stance somewhat. The technology site claims that the platform holder is requiring publishers to support Remote Play on the PlayStation 4 and the Vita, meaning that it will no longer be a squandered idea, but a core part of the system. Assuming that the report is accurate – and we have very little reason to doubt it – this will represent the first time since the introduction of Trophies that the firm’s actually required publishers to take advantage of a system-level feature, and we’re glad that the organisation’s actually taking the initiative here. [Update: Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has now confirmed the report on Twitter.]
The reality is that some developers are lazy. Without the obligation from the platform holder, it’s easy to imagine Remote Play remaining the same ghettoised option that it’s represented on the PS3, which would be a waste of a fantastic feature. By requesting developers to use it, though, the firm’s cementing the functionality as a pivotal part of the console, and that can only bode well for the future of both the next generation system and the accompanying handheld. Off-screen play has proved a particularly compelling addition to the Nintendo Wii U, so it’s important that Sony steps into that arena – even if it may prove a more expensive setup on the PS4.
The move is indicative of a much more demanding platform holder in general. While developers will have the option to turn off content sharing during key scenes, the ability to capture videos and screenshots on the PS4 will also be included in all games. These are all endeavours that the company’s toyed with in the past, only for them to get shrugged aside by idle developers. But by mandating them, the manufacturer’s all but ensuring that they’ll get used to their full potential on the next generation machine. And it’s important that the company continues down this path moving forward, because quality ideas are only as good as the support that they receive, and Sony’s been particularly poor at obligating that over the past few years.
Do you intend to take advantage of Remote Play on the PS4 if it works as advertised? Are you excited that Sony’s requiring developers to employ the feature? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.
Are you excited for Remote Play on the PS4? (49 votes)
Yes, I can’t wait to play Killzone: Shadow Fall in bed
Maybe, but I need to see how well it works first
No, I don’t own a Vita and I don’t intend to buy one
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