PlayStation 4 Share Play Impressive, But Expect Limitations

The PlayStation 4 will finally receive on of its true next-gen console features Tuesday with the 2.0 “Masamune” update. The Share Play that Sony detailed in a PlayStation Blog post on Friday is a potential game changer, but there are some limitations that you’ll need to be aware of as well.

The really cool Share Play news comes first. The 2.0 update will allow PlayStation 4 owners to turn their console into a “virtual couch,” as Sony describes it. You will be able to turn control of a game to a friend on a different PS4 in another location or have them join in with your game for some co-op or versus action.

Here is the official description of the three main Share Play features.

  • Share Screen — Share your screen with a friend, allowing them to spectate. This is ideal for PS4 owners that want to watch their friends play a game and provide helpful tips. PlayStation Plus is not required to use this.
  • Hand over my controller — Pass your controller to a friend, virtually, and watch them play. Your friend does not need to own, or even download the game, in order to use this feature. This is perfect for introducing your friends to new games. The host will need to be a PlayStation Plus member, but the guest does not.
  • Hand over the second player controller — If a game supports local multiplayer, you can have your friend join as player two. Again, the visitor does not need to own, or download the game in order to use this feature. Both players will need PlayStation Plus to use this feature.

PS4 Share Play

All sounds good for PlayStation 4 owners, right? Well, here are the known limitations confirmed by Sony Public Relations guy Andrew Kelly and the Share Play Walkthrough video aside from the PS Plus subscription requirement.

  • One-hour limit – Somebody turning control of a game to a friend and then walking away for hours upon hours is obviously a concern for Sony. That’s why you’ll be able to use Share Play in one hour increments. They are unlimited and you can start another as soon as one ends, but it’s there.
  • No Trophies for the guest – Not particularly surprising is that the Share Play guest cannot earn Trophies in a game. This happens not only when you hand over the controller, but when the guest joins for a multiplayer game as well. Trophies will only be earned on the host’s account.

One limitation that is not mentioned is that the service acts much like Sony’s PlayStation Now game streaming service. That means you’ll need an internet connection with at least 5Mbps down, the more the better. Additionally, the host player will probably want a decent upload speed as well.

The second limitation is that the resolution for games on the Share Play guest side will likely be downgraded from 1080p and 60 fps. PS Now streams games at no better than 720p and 30 fps to ensure fast response times.

This is still an impressive first step for game sharing via consoles despite the limitations. As technology and broadband speeds improve, expect Share Play on the PlayStation 4 to improve as well.

Do you already have plans for SharePlay on the PlayStation 4? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images via PlayStation YouTube]