Although the very idea of being able to play PlayStation and other console titles on your gaming PC was a mere pipe dream a few years ago, developments in both technology, as well as corporate strategy have made PlayStation on PC possible. There are several methods to achieve this breakthrough, each with varying levels of compatibility and legality. These include using the PS4 and PS5 Remote Play function and corresponding PC app, buying access to a PlayStation Plus account with the PlayStation Now online game streaming service, and purchasing a PlayStation tile available on PC and emulator technology as a last resort. Learn more about these various technologies and determine which is best for your needs and budget.
Whether you have been lucky enough to get your hands on the latest generation of PS5s or are more than happy with your existing PS4, you may not be aware that you could be enjoying your favorite PlayStation titles on your PC free of charge. It is worth noting that there are minimum technical requirements to effectively utilize the Remote Play app on your PC, including running Windows 10 or 11 as an OS, a 7th Gen Intel Core Processor or later, at least 100MB of free storage available, 2GB or more of RAM, a display of at least 1024 by 768, a working sound card, and a free USB port. Regarding PlayStation’s requirements, you will need to own a PS4 or PS5 console, have the Remote Play function turned on, access to your PSN (PlayStation Network) account, a DUALSHOCK or DualSense wireless controller, a USB cable, and high-speed internet. You will also need to update your console to the latest software version to prevent errors from occurring and will need access to a microphone to engage in voice chat over Remote Access. After downloading the Remote Access app for your PC, go through the setup process on your PC and your PlayStation and follow the instructions to complete the necessary checkboxes. Assuming that the process has been correctly carried out, you should be able to enjoy PC games and PlayStation titles as desired.
Initially launched in North America in 2014, PS Now is SONY’s competing service to the Microsoft Xbox Game Pass, although the merits of each service continue to be hotly debated. Previously available as a standalone game streaming service, PS Now has recently been folded into the top tier of the PlayStation Plus service, PlayStation Plus Premium. This option typically costs $119.99 for a twelve-month subscription. It includes access to exclusive PS Plus content and discounts and the PlayStation Plus Collection, which contains hundreds of games from the PS5, PS4, PS3, PS2, and more. In addition, PC owners who possess PS Plus Premium accounts can enjoy unlimited cloud streaming of all these titles in addition to any content accessed via the Remote Play feature. Given the relative value of being able to play hundreds of PlayStation games on your PC, it may be worth considering buying a membership in PS Plus Premium.
Although this might seem a simple and obvious solution to some, more PlayStation games are available for purchase and play on PCs than ever before. The “console wars” between SONY and Microsoft rage on with each corporation taking steps to acquire game studios and properties, but one unintended consequence is that some games are becoming available for purchase in various gaming formats. One example is the increasing number of PlayStation games users can purchase directly for Windows 10 and 11 PCs, including Spider-Man, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, God of War (2018), Death Stranding, Days Gone, Horizon Zero Dawn, and many others. While it used to take years to see console games being formatted and released for the PC market if at all, gamers can now enjoy PlayStation on PC within a relatively short time of their release on the traditional console.
As the cheapest option for enjoying PlayStation games on your Windows PC, you might well be tempted to try out PS4 emulation on your PC. For those unfamiliar, emulation in gaming refers to software (usually created by die-hard fans) that allows your PC to bridge the digital divide between your modern computer and more antiqued gaming systems. While this option might seem tempting due to the lack of costs and potential for enjoying classic games from older consoles, the subject of emulators is tricky, especially in terms of copyright law.
Given that many emulated games are no longer easily available for purchase or are owned by notoriously litigious companies, there have been several high-profile lawsuits over emulation, such as Nintendo of America vs. RomUniverse, which resulted in over $2 million in damages awarded to Nintendo. While using emulators is not currently against the law, you could be responsible for downloading content without the owner of said content receiving appropriate compensation. Given that there are currently no emulators for PlayStation 5 games available and using emulators can put a severe strain on your CPU, consider emulating PlayStation Games at your own risk.
Whether you are looking to enjoy remote access to PlayStation gaming on your PC, freely stream classic games on PS Now, or expand your PC game library, there is an affordable or free means to do so. Enjoy playing PlayStation on PC as much as you like and have the best of both worlds.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.