In the old days, taking full advantage of your video game consoles was easy: You popped a game in your system and started playing. That’s all there was to it.
Things have gotten a lot more complicated since those golden years. Games are as good as they’ve ever been, but figuring out how to use all of the features available to you is no small task. Below, we look at three useful features PlayStation owners may have at their disposal but might not fully understand.
Many games are available on more than one device in the PlayStation ecosystem. That ecosystem is currently composed of the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PS Vita.
If a game is available on more than one PlayStation device, the game’s developers have the option to make it support “Cross-Buy.” That means customers only have to buy the game once in order to play it on any compatible PlayStation device they own.
For instance, if you buy the game Resogun for PS Vita, you’ll also be able to download and play it on your PS4 for no additional cost. Even if you don’t have a PS4, the game will stay in your account, ready to be downloaded if you buy a PS4 next month or next year.
To download a Cross-Buy game on another device, just search for it on the PlayStation Store, where it will be labeled as “Purchased.” Alternately, you can view your download list, which shows every digital game in your account.
Cross-Save is a feature that lets you save your progress in a game on one device (a PS Vita, for instance) and pick up right where you left off on another device (say, a PlayStation 4). It does this by keeping your save file in the cloud, where it can be accessed from any device you own.
For cross-save to work, you must have an Internet connection and be signed in to the PlayStation Network. While many games sync your save files automatically, some require you to sync them manually. Most games give you this option on the same screen you use to save the game.
Not all games that support Cross-Save are available through Cross-Buy. That means you might have to pay for a game twice if you want to be able to play it on two devices.
Most PlayStation 4 games offer Remote Play, which lets you play PlayStation 4 games on your PS Vita. To use this feature, go into the settings menu on your PlayStation 4, then into the “PS Vita Connection Settings” and make sure both boxes are checked. On your Vita, open the PS4 Link app and enter the eight-digit number displayed on the PlayStation 4 if it asks. Then you’re good to go.
When using Remote Play, the PlayStation 4 is actually powering the game, but it’s beaming it to your Vita. You can even use Remote Play when you’re away from home, provided you have a strong enough Internet connection. For details on how to set this up, click here.
Some PlayStation 4 games have a related feature called Second Screen. When playing a game in Second Screen mode, the game will display on your television, but supplementary information will appear on the screen of your Vita.