The PlayStation Vita got a bad rap when it was originally released in 2012. It has many of the same features we now see on the Nintendo Switch, such as dual analog sticks, OLED touchscreens, and the ability to play home console-quality games on the Go.
Following the success of the PSP, the Vita was targeted towards the (then) up-and-trend of mobile games, combined with titles such as the Playstation’s strong library. unsolved And little Big Planet lead the charge, So what?
One of its biggest drawbacks was its prohibitively expensive proprietary memory card as well as third-party support that meant the handheld was off to a bumpy start in 2019 even before it quietly took off. It has been estimated that its lifetime sales were somewhere around 16. The million mark, in 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 lifetime it collected several dedicated titles for the platform, with a growing library of JRPGs such as personality 4 golden, like visual novels danganronpa, Plus a handful of indie titles. Many have since been ported to modern consoles, the Switch being one of them.
But while the Vita saw a sharp decline in software support during the later years of its life, it was still being marketed as an adjunct to the more successful PS4. With Remote Play built in, the Vita was a good way to take those same PS4 games on the go and play them over an Internet connection. While it may not have been a system vendor in itself, it did give a secondary market at hand.
It looks like the Playstation’s handheld ambitions have since been put on hold. Even if the company wants to re-enter the space, it will have a hard time competing with Nintendo’s dedicated offering, but the PS Remote Play functionality struck a chord.
It’s 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 plenty of peripherals that can turn phones into makeshift controllers with varying support and functionality. So what could be better than the one officially licensed by Playstation?
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Enter the Backbone One, a mobile cradle for the iPhone that can turn your handset into a gaming pad, similar in shape to the Nintendo Switch Lite. The recently announced Playstation version features dedicated translucent face buttons as well as a matching colorway for the PS5.
While it’s essentially a raskin of Backbone’s original product, its tactile buttons not only make it feel like a decent mobile gaming controller in its own right, but also feel like a fitting stand-in for a dedicated Playstation handheld. who will probably never see the light of day.
The Backbone One will fit most models of iPhone with Lightning port, as the cradle can be extended over the handset and secured at both ends. Since the device connects directly to the phone, it does not require a power supply or Bluetooth.
After setting up a quick profile and going through a tutorial, the Backbone One is good to go, and is compatible with streaming services such as the PS Remote Play app, Google Stadia, or even Xbox Cloud Gaming. Can be used in conjunction with iOS games. Each half of the controller has a headphone jack (remember them?) and a Lightning port that supports charging pass-through for long gaming sessions.
To test this, I first tried to play games that were already installed directly on my iPhone 12, including diablo immortal and the best of subset games in breach, While both of these were optimized for a touchscreen experience, putting the phone in the cradle meant that its interface was each changed to a controller-friendly version of the game, quickly freeing up screen real estate from the touchscreen button interface. .
The controls were responsive and the tactile, clickable buttons made both these games a more smooth experience. It would be harder than ever to play those titles again on my phone using only the touch controls.
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Now on to its advertised functionality and why the Playstation Cradle agreed to slap the “PS” logo on the back of Remote Play.
After setting up my Playstation 5 to allow phone connectivity and download the necessary apps, my home console can be accessed remotely via the Internet, meaning I can place it somewhere with a good Internet connection. I can drive too. As long as the console was in rest mode, it could be turned on, played, and similarly disconnected remotely via the app, putting the console back into its peaceful sleep.
I could use the Backbone One as a backup controller on my TV with little-to-no apparent input delay to play Playstation games, such as Gran Turismo 7 And Horizon Forbidden West, before taking the experience with me from the comfort of your home anywhere. even fighting games like Guilty Gear: TryWhere input timing can win or lose a game is reasonably well organized – although fans of hardcore fighting games may be outraged that I’d suggest playing it that way and “rollback netcode” at me like I will start shouting words.
The only loss of functionality was the lack of support for DualSense-specific features, such as motion control, meaning that some segments Astro’s Playroom Couldn’t be accomplished when I needed to tilt the controller to progress or blow in a microphone that wasn’t there.
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It’s also worth noting that Remote Play will chew through data at a substantial rate if no WiFi is available because streaming games is a lot more intensive than video platforms like Netflix or Apple TV+. Streaming on the highest settings will use about 6GB of data for an hour of playing time, so it’s really only recommended if you have the best of data plans, and maybe not even then.
While this will connect most people to the router closest to them, there are some obvious scenarios where it will still be of use, such as visiting relatives or simply playing games while the TV is being used by someone else.
Backbone One is, in the most literal sense, a gamechanger that makes gaming on mobile phones an attractive proposition for dedicated gamers who don’t want anything to do with touch controls. The added benefit of PS Remote Play integration without limiting its functionality with other gaming platforms also means it has further uses outside the PlayStation ecosystem.
The cradle will be easy to remotely handheld in the form of a new dedicated Playstation and while gamers will quietly mourn the loss of the PS Vita, it could be the next best thing to a dedicated PS Vita 2.
Looking for some games to play on Backbone One? Read our list of our favorite PS5 games you can play in 2022