The first official PlayStation-friendly iPhone controller is a Backbone One – The Verge

Sony has enlisted accessory company Backbone to make a PlayStation-ified version of the excellent Backbone One mobile controller for iPhone that’s available now from Backbone and Best Buy. It gives off PS Vita vibes, except somehow, Sony was okay with Backbone keeping its Xbox-like analog stick arrangement. The $99.99 controller, which can be pulled open to fit iPhones as small as the 13 Mini and as big as the 13 Pro Max, comes in a new mix of white and black, just like the PS5’s DualSense controller. Sure, this is a pricier workaround than strapping one of Sony’s controllers to your phone, but it’s a more elegant-looking way to play PlayStation games via Remote Play, Sony’s mobile app that streams games from your PS4 or PS5 console.

It’s identical in price and design to the all-black 2020 Backbone One that’s still on sale, save for one big change: cross, circle, triangle, and square face buttons in place of A, B, X, and Y to match in-game button prompts you’ll see in PlayStation games on mobile. You can use it to play games on Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, and Stadia, but the button prompts won’t match up with what’s on-screen unless a developer has programmed its game to support PlayStation button icons.

I’ve spent a few hours with the PlayStation edition of the Backbone One, and it’s the same great controller as before, with comfortable grips, a logical button arrangement, good trigger responsiveness, and convenient features like Lightning passthrough charging and a 3.5mm headphone audio passthrough port. Plus, its orange Backbone button doubles as the PS home button within Remote Play when you hold it in.

The face buttons look similar to the ones on the DualSense.

“What PlayStation games on mobile,” you might be asking? Unlike Microsoft, Sony doesn’t have a robust cloud-based offering for PS Plus subscribers on phones, and we may be waiting a while for Sony to deliver on any of its promises to bring several games from its PlayStation catalog to mobile between now and 2025. So at launch, Sony and Backbone are leaning on this controller as being the most faithful way (outside of just pairing a DualSense to your iPhone) to play PlayStation games from your existing PS4 or PS5 console.

For the uninitiated, Sony’s Remote Play app for mobile lets you jump into your PS4 or PS5 games while roaming around your house. It sounds great, and it is capable of delivering a decent experience. I could load up Tetris Effect: Connected just about anywhere and have a pretty good time while streaming via Wi-Fi at home, which is how I imagine most people may use Remote Play. Now, you can also play Remote Play outside your home via LTE or 5G, too (if this is your first time hearing this news, you aren’t alone) — though fast-paced games like Returnal didn’t play so hot over LTE or even 5G for me. Your enjoyment may vary depending on your Wi-Fi hardware and network coverage.

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