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What This Surprise PS4 App Means For PS5

Sony has quietly released a PlayStation 5 Remote Play App to its PlayStation 4 dashboard. This new app can connect PlayStation 4 units to mobile devices, PCs, and the PlayStation 5. Among the new possibilities, the PlayStation 4 now allows people to play PlayStation 5 games on their previous-generation consoles.

In a new PlayStation Blog FAQ, Sony explained more about the new addition. "We're updating PS4's Remote Play feature. Now, in addition to being able to access your PS4 from a PC or a mobile device, your PS4 can access other consoles via Remote Play too, right on your TV. This includes the ability to connect to your PS5 and stream a PS5 game to your PS4 so you can play it there," Sid Shuman, senior director of Sony Interactive Entertainment content communications, said. "Additionally, Remote Play will add support for up to three additional users to join the Remote Play session, which allows users to enjoy local multiplayer games via Remote Play."

The new app is automatically available on consoles already. Players may wish to update their PlayStation 4 systems first if they haven't done so in a while. Once the new app has appeared on their menu, they'll be able to switch between 540p, 720p, and 1080p streaming. PS5 Remote Play must also be enabled on the PlayStation 5 through Settings/System/Remote Play to allow the PlayStation 4 to connect. 

The PS5 Remote Play app adds to the PlayStation 4's Remote Play functionality. Yet the appearance of this new feature naturally leads to new questions. The foremost of these is: Can you play PlayStation 5 games with the PlayStation 4 DualShock Controller on a PlayStation 4? 

Back in August, Sony announced that the current controller would not work with PlayStation 5 games. "No, we believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we're bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller," Isabelle Tomatis, the senior director of PS VR, eSports, Peripherals Marketing, and Licensing at SIE, said. The PlayStation Blog's Q&A stated that the PlayStation 4's controller would work with "supported PS4 games," though.

Given that, the use of the PS5 Remote App may very well be somewhat limited, if players are looking to sling PlayStation 5 games to their PlayStation 4. The incompatibility of the DualSense controller with the earlier console may mean they can only control backward-compatible titles on the PlayStation 4 — which kind of defeats the purpose. 

Sony has gotten some criticism for its hard line on the more limited use of the PlayStation 5 controller, especially since Microsoft isn't going by the same philosophy: The Xbox Series X/S controller is also designed to work on Xbox One games. However, Sony's PlayStation 5 DualSense controller has been getting great reviews: Polygon called it "a literal game changer."

Still, the presence of the new PS Remote App signals one thing: The next generation of gaming has arrived. Those lucky enough to have scored a PlayStation 5 on launch day — Nov. 12 in the U.S. — will soon be able to see for themselves what the system can actually do with the upgraded Remote Play.