In order to create a PlayStation-ified version of the outstanding Backbone One mobile controller for iPhone, which is currently sold by Backbone and Best Buy, Sony sought the aid of accessory maker Backbone. It has PS Vita-like characteristics, although Sony seems to be fine with Backbone maintaining its analogue stick placement similar to the Xbox. Similar to the DualSense controller for the PS5, the $99.99 controller is available in a fresh blend of white and black and can be opened to accommodate iPhones as little as the 13 Mini and as large as the 13 Pro Max. While using one of Sony’s controllers attached to you phone is a cheaper solution, using Remote Play—a mobile Sony software that streams games from your PS4 or PS5 console—is a more aesthetically pleasing method to play PlayStation games.
A, B, X, and Y have been replaced with a cross, circle, triangle, and square face buttons to match the in-game button prompts you’ll see in PlayStation games on mobile. Other than that, it’s identical in pricing and appearance to the all-black 2020 Backbone One that is still available. You can use it to play games on Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, and Stadia, but the button prompts won’t line up with what’s on-screen unless a developer has built their game to accommodate PlayStation button icons.
The Backbone One for PlayStation is still a fantastic controller with nice grips, a logical button layout, superb trigger response, and practical features like Lightning passthrough charging and a 3.5mm headphone audio passthrough connector. Additionally, when you hold in the orange Backbone button on the device, it functions as the PS home button in Remote Play.
You might be wondering, “What PlayStation games are there on mobile?” Sony, unlike Microsoft, doesn’t have a strong cloud-based solution for PS Plus customers on smartphones, and it’s possible that we’ll have to wait a long before Sony fulfils any of its pledges to port a number of PlayStation titles to mobile devices between now and 2025. As a result, Sony and Backbone are banking on this controller to be the most accurate method to play PlayStation games from your existing PS4 or PS5 system (aside of simply linking a DualSense to your iPhone).
For those who are unfamiliar, Sony’s Remote Play software for mobile devices enables you to play games on your PS4 or PS5 while pacing around your home. It has a terrific sound and may provide a satisfying experience. I could stream Tetris Effect: Connected via Wi-Fi at home, which is how I believe most people would utilise Remote Play, and play it pretty much anywhere. If this is the first time you’ve heard of Remote Play outside of your house, you’re not alone. However, I found that fast-paced games like Returnal didn’t perform well over LTE or even 5G. Depending on your Wi-Fi gear and network coverage, your level of pleasure may vary.
The latency of Remote Play is something I can live with, but there are some other nagging issues as well. It’s fantastic that you may switch between games by pressing and holding the orange button on Backbone to return to the home screen of the PlayStation 5. However, doing so avoids using the toolbar, which makes it simple to put the console in rest mode. Therefore, you’ll need to utilise the iPhone’s touchscreen to access the virtual PS home button and browse to the choice. Alternatively, you may enable the console to enter rest mode automatically after manually disconnecting from Remote Play. That seems to be a little more irritating than it ought to be. It is also annoying to have to reconnect to your console each time you leave the Remote Play app, no matter how quickly.
As with the introduction of its InZone PC gaming monitor to take a portion of the PC gaming industry, Sony is using its PlayStation version of Backbone as a vehicle to re-enter the realm of mobile gaming.
Release of this controller is an unusual step for Sony, which has allowed a third-party firm to build some very official-looking gear on its behalf, as well as Backbone, a small company currently iterating on its successful initial product. I wonder whether outsourcing this would enable Sony to distribute mobile games more rapidly than if it focused on developing its own mobile controller; in late 2021, Sony disclosed patents for a device that resembles a DualShock 4 split in half. And perhaps the widespread availability of these controllers will finally persuade Sony to introduce a quality cloud gaming service for mobile devices.
Even while I’m anticipating the future with excitement, I can’t suggest that existing owners update only for the PS-specific buttons unless you’re a devoted PlayStation enthusiast. I’d seriously doubt how much you adore Remote Play, even for diehards. Sony currently has no other mobile gaming approach except streaming from your console.
The Backbone One’s PlayStation edition will only be available on iOS, according to Backbone. The One will be available for Android in November according to the company’s current efforts.