Don’t buy a Chromecast just to play PS5

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Hands-on with Sony’s PS Remote Play on Google Chromecast.

PS Remote Play on Google’s Chromecast 4K.

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For years, Sony’s PS Remote Play app has been a neat way to sling your PS5 and PS4 games to another room of your house — with clients for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and as of 2020, the PS4 itself. I’ve spent hours playing Yakuza and Genshin Impact from the unofficial Steam Deck version.

As of yesterday, it works on a $50 Google Chromecast, too! But I had a hell of a time finding and installing the app, and I suspect it won’t be a great experience for everyone.

Google Chromecast with remote

Google Chromecast with remote

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The good news: it does work and work decently if you’ve got your PS5 plugged into your router with an ethernet cable. You can stream from a PS5 or a PS4 and play with either the PS5 or PS4’s gamepad, which both pair easily with your Chromecast via Bluetooth. You can enable both HDR and the high frame rate mode. It’s definitely not 4K, but I suspect I’m looking at 1080p at 60fps streaming from my PS5.

The app easily found my PS5 and remotely started it over the internet just by signing in to my PSN account with a handy QR code — and it gave me a handy menu to disconnect (and put my PS5 back to sleep) when I hit my controller’s home button.

The menu you get when you press the home button when you’re in PS Remote Play.

The menu you get when you press the home button when you’re in PS Remote Play.

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Check the box to rest your PS5.

Check the box to rest your PS5.

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But there’s an annoying amount of audio lag, some input lag, and some visual stuttering even with an ethernet cable and Game Mode on my TV — and if you’re trying to make it work over a pure Wi-Fi network, well… I don’t recommend it!

With ethernet plugged into the PS5, I could play a rhythm game like Thumper, poorly, while holding the controller a single foot away from a Chromecast plugged into my PC monitor, and I could definitely see myself playing less intensive games like Yakuza that way.

But with a Chromecast sitting behind my TV, simultaneously trying to connect to my PS5 over Wi-Fi and my DualSense over Bluetooth, the input lag got unbearable as I began to put distance between myself and the screen. Even just a couple feet away, my Thumper space beetle died over and over. There are zero games I could comfortably play sitting on my couch 10 to 12 feet away. Even navigating the PS5 menus was a chore.

If you do plug the PS5 into ethernet, I think you might be able to get away with a living room scenario, though. For me, it felt like it overcame enough of the Bluetooth lag to make non-action games bearable.

I suppose you could always buy an ethernet adapter for your Chromecast, too.

Know that Sony still arbitrarily ties PS Remote Play to its own DualSense and DualShock controllers on the Chromecast like it does with other clients, even though the service still doesn’t support any of their fancy features: no DualSense vibrations, no adaptive triggers, no microphones. None of them worked in Astro’s Playroom, though Sony has apparently found a way to beam them to the upcoming PlayStation Portal streaming handheld.

The lag isn’t just Sony’s problem, by the way — other game streaming services on Chromecast have audio lag, too, and Bluetooth controllers can definitely have trouble connecting to a device behind a TV. The $50 dongle isn’t really a gaming gadget.

Sorry, no native DualSense connection for you.

Sorry, no native DualSense connection for you.

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But Sony could have fixed most of my issues by letting me use a DualSense controller natively connected to my PS5 while I stream the image alone — I’ve done that with Remote Play before for less lag and full DualSense functionality from another room of my house. Here, no dice: the moment I sign in from another controller, the Chromecast loses its PS5 connection, as you can see in the image above.

Maybe Sony decided if you’re close enough to the TV to connect a controller directly to the PS5 sitting under it, you might as well use that TV. I respectfully disagree.

If you do want to give PS Remote Play a spin, you may not be able to find the app with your Chromecast, as it didn’t show up in any of my searches. Nor does it readily show up in a Google Play search as of this morning. But if you navigate to this link in a browser with a logged-in Google account, you can remotely install it on your Chromecast that way.

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