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How to Gameshare on PS4 While You Wait for Santa to Bring You a PS5

It's still pretty hard to get your hands on a PS5. In the meantime, there are two ways to share PS4 games digitally with friends. Here's how.

ps4discs
Gamesharing on the PS4 isn't the same as lending a disk, but it's pretty close. 
Chris Parker/CNET

This story is part of 12 Days of Tips, helping you make the most of your tech, home and health during the holiday season.

Still playing your PlayStation 4 while you cross your fingers for a PS5 this holiday season? You can play games together or share your game library with friends and family members who are also still using their PS4, thanks to a feature called Share Play. (If you do have a friend with a PS5, you can also play their PS5 games on your PS4 with Share Play, too.) 

Here are two ways to use Share Play to share digital copies of a PS4 game with another PS4 player. Just note that to use the Share Play feature, both of you will need to have a PlayStation Plus subscription. 

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How to gameshare on the PS4

One option you can try that's been around for some time -- gameshare -- works the same as lending someone a physical disk. That means you can essentially digitally lend someone your game, but you can't play at the same time. (And no, game sharing is not illegal on the PS4.) Both users need a PlayStation Plus subscription. Here's how:

1. Log into your PlayStation account on a friend's PS4 console.

2. Choose Settings.

3. Choose Account Management.

4. Select Activate as Your Primary PS4 and confirm the choice. You might need to deactivate your own PS4 console, but don't worry, you can reactivate it. 

Now player two will see all of player one's games in their library and they'll be available for download on your PS4 hard drive.

How to Share Play on the PS4

Here's how to use the Share Play feature with a friend: 

1. On the Invite Players screen, add the friend you want to start a party with by searching for them, or select them from your friends list. Follow the instructions and choose Send Invitation.

2. Load the game you want to play.

3. Press the share button on your DualShock 4 controller.

4. Choose Share Play on your TV screen.

5. Select the friend you want to share your game with from your list. After they accept your invitation, your game systems will link and the 60-minute session will start. After the session expires, you can immediately restart another session and pick up where you left off. 

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The person you're Share Playing with will be able to see your screen as well as talk to you if you're both playing with microphones. After you're in a session together, you can also let your friend try out the game. Here's how:

1. Press the share button on your controller.

2. Choose Go to Party for Share Play on the TV.

3. Select Give Controller to Visitor.

4. From there you can choose either Allow Visitor to Play as You or Play a Game Together (if your game has a multiplayer mode). The host will need to be a PlayStation Plus member to do this, but the visitor doesn't. Playing co-op requires both gamers to be PlayStation Plus members, but only the host needs a copy of the game in both cases.

To go back to basic screen sharing, press the share button on your controller again, select Go to Party for Share Play and choose Take back Controller. This is also the path you'll take to Stop Share Play. 

Read more: These are the best gaming TVs and the best gaming chairs for 2022

For more, check out how to share your Steam library with friends, how to connect your PS4 controller to your iPhone and how to extend the life of your PS4.