Remote Play, Sony's biggest area of opportunity in its Xperia line

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

I haven’t been using the Sony Xperia Z5 for all that long, honestly, but in the short time I’ve had in my possession, one thing dawned upon me. No, I’m not talking about some of the missed opportunities that would’ve made it stand equally with some of its distinguished contemporaries, like the Galaxy S6, LG G4, iPhone 6s, Nexus 6P, and much more. Rather, I’m more shocked by the lack of how one of its exclusive features isn’t being capitalized to its fullest extent.

Sony’s track record hasn’t been all that great here in the US, evident in how it seems we’re the last major market to ever see the light of day regarding the latest and greatest Xperia smartphones. Just last summer is evidence enough in that, in how the then Verizon-bound Xperia Z4v, a smartphone that blended the Z3+ and Z4 together, was mentioned to launch by the end of summer 2015 – only to be canceled suddenly, and without any sort of reasonable justification. This is the reality with Sony’s Xperia smartphones here in the US, which might be the same for whatever might come next.

The advent of capacitive touch redefined mobile gaming

I’m not sure how some of you folks game nowadays, but for me, I still have a knack for the usual console experience. Mobile gaming has seen a radical change with the introduction of capacitive touchscreen on smartphones, however, if you really think about how they’re carried out, the majority of them still heavily rely on simple touches, taps, and swipes – the kind of games often seen as guilty pleasures with today’s smartphone users.

These touch friendly games cover the gamut, from puzzle games such as Bejeweled and Angry Birds, rail games like Temple Run and Sonic Dash, and even ‘freemium’ strategy games such as Clash of Clans and Empire, these are the typical kinds of games specifically made for today’s smartphones. For me, though, they’re all short-lived, due to how the novelty of the games eventually wear off, which brings me back to why I prefer console gaming so much more.

And then there are handheld consoles

Sony is no stranger to handheld consoles, having made the first-generation Sony PlayStation Portable, the PSP for short, back as far as 2004. Through the years since then, the PSP has undergone several changes and designs, eventually being discontinued as the current-generation of consoles were released – the PlayStation 4 to be exact. With the arrival of that console, Sony delivered an intriguing prospect with the PlayStation Vita, a mobile handheld console that blends the gameplay typically found in consoles with today’s touch-friendly titles rampant amongst smartphones.

Actually, I own and continue to use the PlayStation Vita, mainly because of the vast catalog of games at its disposal. I’m not just talking about the digital ones specifically made for it, but rather, all the other titles from Sony’s previous consoles. Quite frankly, it culminates in being one versatile machine for mobile gaming, thanks primarily to its console-like controller layout and OLED touchscreen – the latter of which is the first in Sony’s history.

To tell you the truth, I rarely play the exclusive titles for it, but rather, I mainly use it for its most intriguing prospect…

Remote Play, it’s not something new

Always the one to be enthralled by console games, I’ve always dreamed about the day when console-grade games would be able to run flawlessly on a smartphone. Sure, there are mobile games developed to fully utilize the hardware in today’s top-shelf smartphones, but there are still more developers opting to go with the console route first before anything else. There’s just no comparing the quality between the two, whether it’s the production value or graphics, console games still reign supreme.

Sony, however, developed a way to do just that with the introduction of Remote Play – a feature in which certain PlayStation games can be streamed to a mobile device. This became a reality first with the Xperia Z3 line, subsequently being expanded to other devices, including the just recently made available Sony Xperia Z5. With the aid of the optional game control mount, along with a DualShock 4 controller, it transforms the Xperia Z5 into a powerful gaming console.

I’ve been enjoying the Remote Play feature, allowing me to stream some of my PlayStation 4 games to the Xperia Z5 – such as Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto 5, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Sure, the graphics are scaled and toned down, due to streaming limitations, but games are largely playable. Latency will always be a concern, but seeing that I play mostly single player games, it doesn’t adversely affect my experience. Although, I can see how it can with multi-player titles.

However, it’s not being fully capitalized, but there’s potential

One of my biggest qualms about Sony here in the US, is that they’re not as aggressive in selling its smartphones. You’d think that they’d be more aggressive as others, especially when they have such a profound presence in almost every consumer electronics category out there, but they’ve been rather subdued.

Remote Play, in my opinion, is the hidden gem in the Xperia line’s arsenal – no other smartphones can claim to offering PlayStation 4 titles on the go. Yes, the PlayStation Vita offers the same functionality, but the actual experience isn’t quite as practical, mainly due to the inconveniences brought on by its adaptation of “R2” and “L2” triggers. Those two buttons are accessed via the touchpad on its back side, which can’t act similar to the analog shoulder triggers of the DualShock 4 controller.

The unfortunate part about it all, is that Remote Play is being undermined because it’s not being talked about as much, nor is it being capitalized in selling the phone. In order to use Remote Play, you have to first own a PlayStation console and DualShock 4 controller, and then purchase the Game Control Mount ($40 cost).

Sadly, there’s no incentive being offered by anyone to entice prospective buyers – leaving consumers to look past the Xperia line, and opt for something else entirely different. If Sony were to at least offer some sort of discount, or even a bundle, there would be more people inclined to buy an Xperia smartphone just because it features Remote Play. How about a bundle that would give a significant discount to the Xperia Z5 with the purchase of a PlayStation 4 console? Or maybe buy the Game Control Mount and receive 3 or 6 months of PlayStaion Now for free?

These are all viable suggestions that would undeniably bring the focus to Sony’s Xperia smartphones here in the US. Looking at what history has shown us, Sony still has an uphill battle ahead of itself, but if they’re able to carefully plot out and fully commit to having a meaningful campaign around the Remote Play feature, it’s quite possible for them to easily become a top 5 player once again – even from a global level.

Related phones

Xperia Z5
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 23 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2900 mAh(17h 3G talk time)



1. TyrionLannister unregistered

I've heard the round trip latency is high enough to discard any fps title. And if you're in range of your PS3/4 anyway(since you're on the same local network), why not play on the big TV.

7. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

That isn't true. I've played Wolfenstein and Fallout 4 at work on my Vita with no issues. Whether or not it works well depends on your network/wifi signal. When it does work it is truly amazing. It is like having a portable PS4.

12. GreenZone

Posts: 146; Member since: Mar 04, 2014

The way remote play connects between Vita and sony smartphone is different. Vita users can connect directly to the PS4 while Android phone users has to be routed via Internet. That's why the latency is always been a problem. While vita's remoteplay experience is great, the smartphone's is just a mere gimmick

17. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Reread my comment. I played on my Vita over a wifi network, while at work. It was fine because I have good wifi at work. Also reviews of Xperia Z3-Z5 say Remote Play performs BETTER on those devices than on the Vita. The Vita uses less premium wifi chips because it is a budget device.

19. GreenZone

Posts: 146; Member since: Mar 04, 2014

Reread my reply, Vita doesnt have any serious issue with latency since it doesnt reroute it's connection from internet. And you obviously need to buy Z5 first before making any comment. The remote play on Z5 (and any other xperia) sucks since it still has to be rerouted via internet, so if you have slow connection, it's a mere gimmick

8. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Sony has a huge opportunity to influence the smartphone market if they can push Remote Play beyond Xperia devices. They could make a whole market for Moga style gamepads that come in different sizes, have custom colors, and all are designed to work specifically with Remote Play. If they decided for instance to make these mobile Dualshocks and market them exclusively with Galaxy phones, they could have a huge impact on their marketshare.

2. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Just 2 points: - This functionality is available since Xperia Z2 - Don't really need the DualShock4 controller, buttons and sticks get mapped to screen when no DS4 is connected... not ideal but at least you don't need to carry the controller and the mount.

3. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

It'd be interesting if they replaced the PSP line with smartphones. Also if they rebranded them to PlayStation (or just Play) Phones, because the Xperia brand is virtually meaningless to most people (that I've met anyway). Also, Google has the Play Store, Sony has the PlayStation. Candidates for cross-branding?

9. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

or just revive xperia play line.. the old xperia play have terrible battery life, tiny storage, and not much android game can gain benefit from its hardware button.. but now xperia have great battery life, and lots of great game available on market, so they need to revive xperia play

20. 0kax0el0

Posts: 238; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

Would be great to see the return of the Play line, wasn't fan of Sony-Ericsson phones but Sony alone has made great devices. Wouldn't care if it isn't a thin device, I already carry a 3DS XL, as long as it has great battery life, phisical controls and good performance.

4. TyrionLannister unregistered

This works on any android phone: 1. 2. You don't even need root. Even dualshock 4 works, wired and wireless.

5. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

The problem is with Remote Play is the 1080p/30fps limit. Even for games that actually run at 60 fps on PS4 X(

10. mixedfish

Posts: 1563; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Not true, it has been updated to run 60fps 6 months ago.

16. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Oh wow, really?!

6. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I agree with this article... Sony has never learned how to properly market their devices in the US and in the rest of the world for that matter and many times they had things that made them stood out... Right now is too late and they are always trying to catch up. They should have capitalized on waterproof marketing before the S4 Active... (since the Xperia Acro S) They should have made better marketing for their SmartWatch that goes back to the LiveView in 2010.... YES TWO THOUSAND AND TEN.... (also they should have improved them better as well) They should have capitalized on their accessories, that even though were not exclusive to Xperia, got better functionality because of that... I am talking about their Lens Style Cameras, Car Stereo XSP-N1BT, Smart Bluetooth Headphones, etc... Anyway, I agree with the article, but it seems like the managers live in fantasy land. Specially when they release the Z5 line in the US without Fingerprint Scanner... what a joke. That was basically the only thing I missed about my Motorola Atrix from years ago... and now that I love Xperia devices they take this feature from the one place I can get it more easily

11. Shamoy

Posts: 112; Member since: Dec 28, 2013

First of all, Sony NEEDS TO PATCH IT to block out non-Xperia users the remote play port from using it. I've seen tons of threads about how Galaxy S6 and Note 5 users were enjoying remote play on their phones.

13. GreenZone

Posts: 146; Member since: Mar 04, 2014

Remote play is only gimmick for xperia user, latency is too high and the image quality is nonsense

14. martinjhm271

Posts: 45; Member since: Aug 16, 2015

so laggy

15. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Remote Play is great. That is all I wanted to say.

18. T-rex unregistered

I also agree with this article... Sony does not market its strengths. it seems like they don't give a f**k. Sony could capitalize on its strengths like remote play, waterproofing and digital noise cancellation - yes a lot of people listen to music on their phones and it matters to them, and their phones are often not priced right, especially the mid range ones. But whoever is heading the strategy of Sony seems like completely out of touch with the reality of the markets.

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