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Sharing Digital Games on the PlayStation 4

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Those who are familiar with the sharing of PlayStation Plus between two people should already be well aware of this capability.

Essentially, two people can take advantage of these facts about the PlayStation 4 ecosystem:

  • Games you download can be played by users who share your PS4™ system, such as your family and friends. You do not have to log in to the system for other users to play these games.
  • If you join PlayStation®Plus, benefits such as online multiplayer features that come with that membership can be enjoyed by users who share your PS4™ system. You do not have to log in to the system for other users to enjoy these benefits.
  • Games you purchase can be downloaded and played on any PS4™ system if you sign in to PSN. There is no limit on the number of systems you can use. * Only you can start games that you download.
  • If you join PlayStation®Plus, you can sign in to PSN from any PS4™ system and enjoy your membership benefits.

PS4 - You can access your own stuff

PS4 - Others can play your games

Instructions

  1. You log onto your partner’s PlayStation 4 and set their console as the primary.
  2. Your partner logs onto your PlayStation 4 and sets your console as the primary.
  3. Now both of you will be able to log onto each other’s accounts and begin downloading titles and content from each other’s libraries.

And that’s it. It’s not a complicated process but there are a number of caveats and things to consider.

Tips & Considerations

Pair up with someone you trust

You access to titles and content shared with you if your partner deactivates your PlayStation 4 as his Primary console. Primary consoles can be deactivated via the web; your partner does not need to have physical access to your console to revoke access. And if you are sharing passwords, your partner can also change those credentials on you and lock you out that way. Find someone you trust and not some seemingly good hearted internet stranger who you’ve never met in person.

Take turns purchasing/registering titles

Make your partner’s PlayStation 4 your primary console and vice versa. By doing this, you both can take turns purchasing titles and not give one account holder full control of the entire shared library of games. You are splitting the cost of content, why not split the ownership as well?

This is ideal for multiplayer & co-op titles

This is ideal for multiplayer and co-op titles because both you and your partner can play multiplayer and co-operative titles at the same time. For single player titles, discounts (such as the FutureShop/Bestbuy E3 promotions) and the ability to trade-in physical titles may be more benefitial.

Find a partner with similar gaming tastes

If you’re into RPGs and adventure games and your partner is more of an annual Call of Duty/Madden player, it will be tough to find titles that you actually want to split the cost on. At the very least, try to find someone who are open to trying different titles and are willing to split the cost to try new experiences.

How many people can I share with?

You are not limited by the number of people; you are limited by the number of consoles. You can only use two PlayStation 4 consoles concurrently, the primary console and one other. If the person you are sharing with happens to have two other users playing on that console (that you have set as your primary console), they can access your games as well.

Will sharing of PlayStation Plus content work?

Yes. Instant Game Collections, betas and just about any other content can be shared in this manner.

Wait. I can share PlayStation Plus?

Yes. As outlined in this post here. The bottom line is: the partner who does not have PlayStation Plus can only take advantage of the ability to play multiplayer. No Cloud Saves. No Instant Game Collection acquisitions.

Will my partner and I be able to play multiplayer titles at the same time?

Yes. I’ve played Resogun, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition and the Destiny alpha and beta via digital sharing. It’s likely that every title operates like this for now.

Will Sony change this in the future?

The only thing I can see Sony or third parties changing is the ability for both players to access the same content at the same time.

What are the disadvantages for setting my partner’s console as my primary console?

There are two notable disadvantages:

  • You will not be able to use your credentials and the PlayStation App to download content to your actual home console.
  • You will not be able to utilize the PlayStation Vita’s Remote Play via Internet function to access your actual home console.

What happens if my partner logs onto my account at their place when I’m logged in at home?

The second session will kick out the first session. Beware, you can lose unsaved game progress when this happens. I would let your partner know if/when you are logging into their account to download content.

Do I have to stay logged in with my partner’s account while downloading their content?

No. You can start a download on their account and immediately switch back to your account.

What happens if we break up?

Break out the wine and tub of ice cream. Then hope you followed the suggestions above about splitting the cost and ownership of titles.

Is this legal?

I’m not a lawyer. You can read the EULA for yourself (Link Req’d). I’ve skimmed through the documents and I didn’t see anything specifically stating otherwise but it’s best you make that call on your own or through your legal counsel.

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