Game sharing on PlayStation 4: Everything you need to know!

PlayStation 4 and games
PlayStation 4 and games (Image credit: Android Central)

Years ago, sharing games was something that you did in meatspace. I remember back when I was a chubby little kid, I would hop on my bike and ride down the street with a handful of blank floppy disks. There was an older boy I knew who was more than happy to copy whatever Commodore games I wanted on to those floppy disks.

Things have changed quite a bit since the days of Huffys and floppies. It is now a common occurrence to own a game and never actually hold anything physical in your hand. That just begs the question: when you don't own anything physical, how do you hand it off to a friend so that they can enjoy the game as well?

In large part, many of the changes that have been made to gaming are designed to discourage the behavior of game sharing. However, if you own a PS4 the sharing of games is still possible, if not a bit obtuse.

Here are some of the ways that you can share games on PS4.

Can you share discs?

The days of sharing games and meatspace are not totally dead. Depending on the game and its online features you can still totally hand off the disk to a friend. It's every bit as easy as it always has been. If you're not sure how sharing a disk with a friend might work, feel free to refer to this cheeky official video that Sony released back in 2013

Digital sharing

PS4 Home screen library

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Now when it comes to sharing digital copies of games, it's a little bit more complex, but not by much. The games that are available on any given console are determined by which user is set as the primary account on that system. If you want access to your friend's library of PS4 games, all they need do is log into your console and then go in and set that PS4 as their primary system.

You can think of the primary PS4 setting in terms of going to somebody's house. In the old days, if you wanted to borrow a game you had to go to their house to do it. Now, you go to their house to look at their game library by setting your console as their primary PS4.

If you're not quite sure exactly how to pull this off you can always refer to our handy guide.

A word of advice

I feel like it should go without saying, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. You should only share digital games with people that you were familiar with and trust implicitly. Just like you wouldn't let some rando into your house to dig through your game pile, you shouldn't let them into your account to do that same digging virtually.

Is this the same as family sharing?

Ps4 User Interface Homescreen

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Game sharing and family sharing are slightly different. Family sharing allows families to effectively share the benefits of PlayStation Plus from one account with everyone else playing on that same console. It works similarly to game sharing as the account with the PS Plus subscription will need to activate the PS4 as their primary console. Once this is done, every account on that console can play online multiplayer and play downloaded games that were downloaded to the account with PS Plus, regardless if theirs is the account with the active subscription.

Jaz Brown