This Playstation-licensed iPhone controller is the closest thing we’ll get to a PS Vita 2

Does not require a power supply or Bluetooth (The Independent)

The Playstation Vita got a bad rap when it originally launched in 2012. It boasted many of the features we see now on the Nintendo Switch, such as dual analog sticks, an OLED touchscreen, and the ability to play home console quality games on the go. .

Following the success of the PSP, the Vita was directed towards the (then) rising trend of mobile gaming, combined with the Playstation’s strong library of titles such as Unknown and little big planet leading the charge. So what happened?

One of its biggest downsides was its prohibitively expensive proprietary memory cards, as well as on-off third-party support meant the laptop was already off to a rocky start before being quietly discontinued in 2019. Its lifetime sales are estimated to have been in around 16 million, a stark contrast to the PSP which sold around 80 million units.

The Vita was arguably ahead of its time when compared to the success of the Switch. During its lifespan, it has amassed several titles dedicated to the platform, with a growing library of JRPGs such as persona 4 goldvisual novels like Danganronpa, as well as a handful of independent titles. Many have already been ported to modern consoles, the Switch being one of them.

But even though the Vita saw a sharp decline in software support during the last few years of its life, it was still being marketed as an accessory to the much more successful PS4. With remote play built in, the Vita was a nice way to take those same PS4 games on the go and play them over an internet connection. While it may not have been a systems seller on its own, it gave the notebook a secondary market.

It seems that the Playstation’s portable ambitions have been put aside. Even if the company wanted to re-enter the space, it would have a hard time competing with Nintendo’s dedicated offering, but the PS’s remote play functionality struck a chord.

It is now possible to play PS4 and PS5 games on iOS and Android devices and you can even connect a dualsense controller to your phone if you want to avoid touch controls. There are now many peripherals that can turn phones into makeshift controllers, with varying degrees of support and functionality. So what’s better than an officially licensed Playstation?

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Step into Backbone One, a mobile holder for the iPhone that can turn your device into a gamepad, similar in size to the Nintendo Switch lite. The newly announced Playstation edition even has dedicated translucent buttons, as well as a matching color palette for the PS5.

While it’s essentially a reskin of Backbone’s original product, its tactile buttons not only make it look like a decent mobile game controller in its own right, it also feels like a suitable replacement for a dedicated Playstation handheld device that will likely never see the light of day. day.

Backbone One for iPhone – Playstation Edition: £99.99, Playbackbone.com

    (backbone)

(backbone)

The Backbone One fits most iPhone models with a lightning port as the holder can be extended over the device and secured at both ends. As the device connects directly to the phone, it does not need a power supply or Bluetooth.

After setting up a quick profile and going through a tutorial, the Backbone One is ready to go and can be used in conjunction with streaming services such as the PS remote play app, Google Stadia, or even Xbox cloud games, plus of games for iOS. Each half of the controller houses a headphone jack (remember them?) and a lightning port that supports pass-through charging for longer gaming sessions.

To test, I first tried to play games that were already installed directly on my iPhone 12, including Immortal Diablo and excellent from Subset Games in the gap. While both were optimized for a touchscreen experience, inserting the phone into the cradle meant its interface had switched to a controller-friendly version of each game, immediately freeing up screen space from touchscreen button interfaces. .

The controls were responsive and the tactile and clickable buttons made these two games much more intuitive. It would be hard to play these titles on my phone again using just touch controls.

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Now, about its advertised functionality and why Playstation has agreed to put the “PS” logo on the back of the stand, remote play.

After configuring my Playstation 5 to allow phone connectivity and downloading the necessary app, my home console can be accessed remotely over the internet, which means I could play it pretty much anywhere with a decent internet connection. While the console was in sleep mode, it could be remotely powered on by the app, played and unplugged in the same way, putting the console back to its peaceful sleep.

I could use Backbone One as a backup controller on my TV with little to no discernible input lag for playing Playstation games like Gran Turismo 7 and Forbidden West Horizon, before taking the experience with me comfortably from anywhere in my house. Even fighting games like Guilty Equipment: Effortwhere entry times can win or lose a game has held up reasonably well – although hardcore fighting game fans might be offended that I suggest it be playable that way and start yelling terms like “network code rollback” for me.

The only loss of functionality was the lack of support for dualsense-specific features such as motion controls, meaning that certain sections of the Astro’s Toy Library it couldn’t be completed when it required me to tilt the control to progress or blow into a mic that wasn’t there.

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It’s also worth noting that remote playback will consume data at a substantial rate if WiFi isn’t available, as game streaming is much more intensive than video platforms like Netflix or Apple TV+. Streaming at the highest settings will use approximately 6GB of data for an hour of gameplay, so it’s only recommended if you have the most robust of data plans, and maybe not even then.

While this will tie most people to the nearest router, there are some clear scenarios where this would still be used, such as visiting relatives or simply playing games while the TV is being used by someone else.

The verdict?

The Backbone One is, in the most literal sense, a game-changer that makes mobile gaming a tempting proposition for dedicated gamers who want nothing to do with touch controls. The added benefit of PS remote game integration without limiting its functionality with other gaming platforms also means it can be used outside of the Playstation ecosystem.

It would be easy to mistake the stand for a new Playstation dedicated handheld from a distance, and while gamers silently mourn the loss of the PS Vita, this could be the next best thing for a dedicated PS Vita 2.

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Looking for some games to play on Backbone One? Read our list of our favorite PS5 games you can play in 2022

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