How to Gameshare on the PS4

Play your friends' games with PlayStation Share Play

Game sharing used to be as simple as swapping cartridges or discs with your friend. That's still an option if you opt for physical games instead of downloading everything, but Sony actually provides two other ways to gameshare on PS4 that are much more up to date. One method involves the Share Play feature, which allows you to play local multiplayer with friends via the internet, and the other is to share your entire digital game library with a friend by logging into their console.

Gamesharing using Share Play on PS4 on a large television.
 AlexandrBognat / iStock / Getty

Ways to Share PS4 Games

There are three ways to gameshare on PS4, each of which serves a different purpose.

  • Physical discs: Like older consoles, you are free to lend your physical disks to friends. Since they have your physical disc, you can't play together.
  • Share Play: This official PS4 feature allows you to play online multiplayer games with friends even if they don't own a copy. You can also hand over control to a friend to let them play alone. Your friend needs to have PlayStation Plus, and sessions end after 60 minutes.
  • Game sharing: This method requires you to log into a friend's PS4 and set it as your primary console. It allows them to play all of your games, and you can also play together online.

How to Use Share Play on Your PS4

Share Play is a feature that allows you to play games online with your friends even if they don't have the game. This is useful for multiplayer games, since it allows you to play together. In single player games, your friend can watch you play, and you have the option to hand them the controller to let them play if you like. You can also set up Share Play on a single player game, hand the controller to your friend, then walk away and let them play through it alone.

The catch with Share Play is that sessions are also limited to one hour, although the host is able to start a new session immediately if you aren't done playing by that time.

The other limitation is that you need to have a PlayStation Plus subscription to initiate a Share Play session. Your friend doesn't need a subscription to view your gameplay, and you can also hand them the controller whether or not they have a subscription. If you want to play a game's local multiplayer with your friend, they need to have a PlayStation Plus subscription for that.

You need a high speed internet connection to use Share Play. If your connection isn't fast enough, try fixing your slow PS4 Wi-Fi or switch to an Ethernet connection.

Here's how share games on your PS4 using Share Play:

  1. Launch the game you want to share, and briefly press the Share button on your controller to open the share menu.

    A screenshot of a PS4 game.
  2. From the Share menu, select Start Share Play.

    A screenshot of the PS4 Share menu.
  3. Select OK.

    A screenshot of Share Play information.
  4. If you don't already have your friend in a party, you will have to add them. Select OK.

    A screenshot of Share Play.
  5. Select the friend you want to share with.

    A screenshot of PS4 friends.
  6. Once your friend has joined, they will automatically see your game on their screen. You can return to the game to continue playing, or select Share Play for further options.

    A screenshot of share play on PS4.
  7. Select Stop Share Play when you're done. Alternately, you can select Give Controller to Visitor if you want them to take control of the game.

    A screenshot of PS4 Share Play.

How to Share All Your Games on PS4

In addition to Shareplay, there is also a way to share all of your games with a friend or family member. This only allows you to share your games with one person at a time, and it also requires you to have access to their PS4 or to trust them with your login information.

If you set a friend's PS4 as your primary console, they can then log in with their own account, download any games you have purchased, and play them. If you later log into your own PS4, you can then play any multiplayer game you have purchased with that friend.

They are allowed to play it because their console is set as your primary PS4, and you're allowed to play it because you are logged in with the account that purchased the game.

Only use this method with people you trust. If you ever need to use your own PS4 as your primary PS4 in the future, your friend or family member will have to first deactivate their PS4 as your account's primary console. You can do it yourself via web browser, but you are only allowed to do so once every six months.

  1. Log into your PS4 account on your friend or family member's PS4.

  2. Open Settings from the home screen.

    A screenshot of the main PS4 menu.
  3. Select Account Management.

    A screenshot of PS4 settings.
  4. Select Activate as Your Primary PS4.

    A screenshot of PS4 account management.
  5. Select Activate.

    A screenshot of activating a PS4 as a primary.
  6. Users of this PS4 will now have access to your games. If you are exchanging access to games with a friend or family member, have them repeat steps 1-4 on your PS4.

How Many People Can You Gameshare With on a PS4?

The number of people you can gameshare with on a PS4 is limited to one at a time regardless of the method you use. The actual logistics, and specifics, differ depending on whether you're using the Share Play feature or switching your primary console.

When using the Share Play feature, you can gameshare with one person in your party at a time. If you want to share with a different person, you need to end your current session, make a new party, and share with the new person.

When using the method of switching your primary console, you are limited to sharing with one console at a time. However, anyone who logs into that console is able to use your games on that console. So if the console that you set as your primary PS4 has multiple users, they'll all get access to your library of games.

If you share your games by giving out your login information, you run the risk of punitive actions from Sony. For example, you can play online with a friend, using a game you bought, if they're playing on your primary PS4 and you're logged into a different PS4. If other people beyond you and that one friend attempt to play using your login information, Sony will take action against your accounts.