You wouldn’t think Xbox or PlayStation would have much to gain by playing nice with the world of PC gaming. After all, if someone owns a gaming PC, they’re not all that likely to buy an Xbox One or PlayStation 4. So it’s strange that lately there’s been so much cooperation going on between the consoles and the PC gaming environment. Instead of treating PC like a threat, PlayStation and Xbox are buddying up with the PC platform in a lot of interesting ways. Here’s how, and what it means.
In the old days, an exclusive game was an exclusive game. If Microsoft spent the money to publish a game on Xbox, that’s where it stayed. The people at Sony would have laughed at the idea of playing Uncharted anywhere but on a PlayStation machine.
Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more games that are considered “console exclusives.” A console exclusive is a game that comes to one console, usually either Xbox One or PlayStation 4, as well as PC. Games like Street Fighter V and No Man’s Sky are only available to play on PC and PlayStation 4. Games like Titanfall and Forza Horizon 3 fit the bill over on the Xbox One side.
Why this happens is unclear from the outside, and certainly varies by game. For instance, Sony published Capcom’s Street Fighter V, which in the past would have meant it would probably be a PlayStation 4 exclusive. But somewhere during the two companies’ negotiations, Capcom must have insisted on bringing it to PC. The strange thing is that Sony was amenable.
No more true Xbox One exclusives
While we’re on the subject of exclusivity, Microsoft is putting all of its future Xbox One exclusive games on Windows 10 as well. This makes sense to some extent, because Microsoft owns both Xbox and Windows, but it also gives gaming PC owners virtually no reason to buy an Xbox One console — something you’d think Microsoft would prefer.
Sony hasn’t gone this far, and likely never will since it doesn’t own a major PC operating system. But Sony is playing nice with PCs in other ways, which we’ll get to in just a moment.
You can stream PlayStation 4 games to your PC
Thanks to an app called Remote Play (which you can download here), you can stream your PS4 games to your PC or Mac. While the PS4 is still doing the heavy lifting, Remote Play effectively lets you play any PS4 game you own on a PC or Mac, anywhere you want. Previous consoles didn’t do this, perhaps because they didn’t have the power or technological capability, but it’s yet another way Sony is buddying up with PCs.
Stream games from Xbox to Windows 10
Wouldn’t you know it, Xbox has a similar feature to PlayStation’s Remote Play. It’s called game streaming, and it works pretty much the same way, with the exception that you can only stream Xbox One games to PCs running Windows 10.
Once again, this feature enables your Xbox One to power the games, then send them to your PC, giving you more flexibility (and mobility) than we’ve ever had before in a stationary game console.
PlayStation Now on PC
Last but not least, Sony has brought its PlayStation Now service to PC. Previously exclusive to PlayStation 4, PlayStation Now is a subscription service that lets you stream hundreds of select PlayStation 3 games directly from Sony’s servers.
Now that PlayStation Now is available on PC, it means you can use your PC to play many of the best PlayStation exclusives ever made, including Uncharted, The Last of Us, and God of War. All of this happens right on your PC, with no PlayStation hardware required, aside from a controller.
What it means
Taken together, what all this means is that it’s a good time to be a PC gamer. You can play tons of console exclusives on PC. You can stream games from your consoles to your PC, if you happen to have the console. Heck, you can even play a big chunk of the PS3’s library on your PC if you subscribe to PlayStation Now.
Previously, PC gamers who didn’t own any consoles were giving up on a lot of excellent exclusive console games. Thanks to Sony and Microsoft, the walls are starting to come down which, ironically, makes owning a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One less necessary than ever — as long as you have a powerful PC.