Backbone launches a licensed PlayStation-style controller for iPhone
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Backbone, the company behind the iPhone controller attachment of the same name, announced its newest product: A PlayStation-branded version. The new BackBone One PlayStation Edition is a frosty-white version of the company’s popular device, designed to work with the Remote Play app.
The new Backbone bears a strong resemblance the PS5’s DualSense controller, with its color and its transparent buttons. It still has the good features of the original, including a headphone jack. It matches other PS5 accessories, such as the PS5’s Pulse headset.
According to Backbone, its app of the same name has also gotten a PS-friendly update. It has a dedicated row for PS Remote Play titles. Users can also access the app’s features without the controller being attached.
Playing games with the Backbone’s PlayStation controller
I got the chance to test the controller out, and it functions similarly to the original. It still works with non-PlayStation applications, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and Apple Arcade titles. It’s essentially still the same controller it has always been.
I tested it with a few different games on my PlayStation 5. All of them seemed to do well on Remote Play. The experience is not as smooth as the Xbox Game Pass’s gameplay experience, but still easy to use. If you wish to play your PlayStation games on your phone, the Backbone makes for a more comfortable experience.
I still have one issue with the Backbone One, and I’ve had it since I tested the first one: The bottoms of the grips are not very ergonomic. While the rest of my fingers are doing work in the game, my pinkies are slipping off the round, smooth part of the grip. This isn’t unique to the PlayStation edition, but it’s disappointing that it’s still part of the controller — especially considering how comfortable the DualSense is.
Backbone has now partnered with two of the major players in the console space — Microsoft and Sony. The company also raised $40 million in funding earlier this year. At the time, Backbone CEO Maneet Khaira said, “Backbone is becoming part of the Xbox and PlayStation ecosystem as an extension of the experience for core gamers.” And it appears he meant this literally.
PlayStation’s approach to mobile isn’t as all-encompassing as Xbox’s. Via Game Pass, Xbox offers users dozens of titles on mobile, while PlayStation offers only remote play for its consoles. However, this partnership is another indicator of Sony’s intentions to change that. SIE president Jim Ryan said in a briefing in May that the company plans aggressive growth on both PC and mobile.
It’s not entirely clear what that looks like just yet — whether the company will offer cloud gaming on mobile, dedicated mobile-first games or both. But a partnership with Backbone would seem to indicate bigger plans than just Remote Play.
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