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New Backbone One Controller Brings a Console-Like Gaming Experience to iPhone

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple's iPhone and iPad have supported gaming controllers for quite some time now, and there are several on the market, but the new Backbone One controller is being praised as one of the best new controllers to use with Apple's iPhones for mobile gaming.


The Backbone One connects to the sides of the iPhone and offers a standard controller layout with clickable thumb sticks, d-pad, analog triggers, action buttons, and more. It's designed to fit all of Apple's iPhones and works with any iPhone that has iOS 13 or later installed. There's a Lightning connector on one side that plugs into the iPhone's Lightning port for connectivity, so Bluetooth is not required and latency remains low.


The Backbone One features a dedicated button for recording gameplay or taking screenshots, and games can be recorded at up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. A Backbone app button also launches right into the Backbone app, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack for use with headsets. Since it connects over Lightning, charging is not required.

With the Backbone One app, users can launch games and access game recordings, plus interact with friends through social features. When someone you're friends with also has a Backbone One, when a game is started you receive a push notification and can join in and you can communicate with one another.


Any game that supports game controllers is compatible with the Backbone One, including Apple Arcade games. Multiple reviews of the Backbone One have gone live today, and the controller is getting heavy praise. Wired said the controller has the exact layout you'll find on a console controller, and that it's so "immersive and well designed" that it's easy to forget you're playing on a phone.


The Verge said that Backbone "makes the iPhone feel like a bona fide gaming platform" and that the app features feel like "a gaming experience that somehow beats Apple to the punch of fleshing out its own gaming ambitions."

The Backbone One is priced at $99 and it must be purchased through the Backbone app. [Direct Link]

Article Link: New Backbone One Controller Brings a Console-Like Gaming Experience to iPhone
 

BF1M

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2018
546
656
I agree it does seem a lot. But on the flip side, this kind of makes your iPhone like a switch hardware wise. Throw in some more involved games and why carry a portable game console as well as a phone when it can just be a single device?

Battery life for one. This gen of phone already has worse battery life than last gen. Not to mention "more involved games" are never going to happen for iOS beyond cheap ports. Why? Because the device has no buttons. This means that all games will have to support a touch screen control scheme even if they do offer controller support on the side.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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If you want to buy me a console, you're going to have to show me some serious games for it.

Give me Doom Eternal, Metroid Prime 4, and Breath of the Wild 2 and I'll immediately buy it. Other AAA games will be accepted as substitutes. B+ Knock-offs and spin-offs (the best the iOS app store generally has) will not be.
 
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ericwn

macrumors 603
Apr 24, 2016
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3,782
This could be great fun for some gamers, why not, a bit expensive for me personally.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,926
4,786
Battery life for one. This gen of phone already has worse battery life than last gen. Not to mention "more involved games" are never going to happen for iOS beyond cheap ports. Why? Because the device has no buttons. This means that all games will have to support a touch screen control scheme even if they do offer controller support on the side.
Whoever is making the controller will need to get the AAA developers/publishers onboard. Get Bethesda to release some recent games from their catalog for iOS.

Who wants a console-like controller for a platform with no console-like games?
 
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Pirate!

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2017
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How’s it work on cases? Looking at the lightning end, there’s not a lot of room for extra clearance that you’d normally have with a wire (ie thinner to allow fitting through cases).
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,926
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Yes, get a Microsoft subsidiary to put money into helping Apple...
Oh yeah, I forgot Microsoft bought Bethesda. It's not impossible that it would happen. Microsoft isn't in the smartphone or portable market, so they could still release games for iOS.

Maybe Ubisoft has something they could put on iOS? I haven't seen a worthwhile game from them in awhile...
 
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WRChris

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2016
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Indiana
I agree it does seem a lot. But on the flip side, this kind of makes your iPhone like a switch hardware wise. Throw in some more involved games and why carry a portable game console as well as a phone when it can just be a single device?
I know you are talking hardware, but I for one will keep my switch for the software. You will never be playing Zelda with the iPhone.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
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Call me a puritan, but if you want a true console experience, buy a console. That is the point of a dedicated machine, large screen, dedicated controller, surround sound and massive game files.

No manner of plastic add ons or apps can give you a console experience on a phone.

I agree, but I want a controller like this for (when COVID is over) playing games on the subway on the way to work. I don't need them to be modern AAA quality - but touch-screen-only controls are really limiting for a lot of games. And there are very few, if any, good controllers out there that hug the phone like this. They're either garbage quality, vaporware, or not yet released.
 
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BF1M

macrumors 6502a
Nov 17, 2018
546
656
Oh yeah, I forgot Microsoft bought Bethesda. It's not impossible that it would happen. Microsoft isn't in the smartphone or portable market, so they could still release games for iOS.

Maybe Ubisoft has something they could put on iOS? I haven't seen a worthwhile game from them in awhile...

You aren't entirely out of the ballpark. There is precedents with Microsoft on other company's hardware. Banjo being in Smash recently for example.

Who knows? I still seriously doubt we will one day be waiting for midnight releases of the next great iOS game.
 
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