When Sony announced the new "Share Play" feature for PlayStation 4 owners two months ago, it was one of the most unexpected and interesting potential uses for its cloud-based gaming infrastructure that we'd heard of. The promise: a "virtual couch" that lets remote players join your games as if they were sitting right there with you. That means the ability to take part in competitive or cooperative multiplayer, even in games not designed for online play, or just the freedom to "borrow" a friend's system and screen to briefly try out a single-player title.
With the launch of the PS4's firmware version 2.00 this week, the Share Play promise has become a reality for millions of PS4 owners with PlayStation Plus. After tinkering with the new feature for the better part of an afternoon, we found Share Play on the PS4 to be far from unusable, but also far from the seamless experience of actually playing with a friend in the same room.
Setting up a Share Play session is a bit of an onerous process. First, both players have to join a chat party. Then one player has to start the Share Play session though the Party menu. The "guest" then has to connect to that Share Play session. After all that, the host has to virtually "hand a controller" to the guest through another Party screen menu, and the guest has to accept the controller.