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PlayStation reenters the handheld gaming scene with special edition Backbone

PlayStation is returning to the handheld gaming scene … sort of. Today, PlayStation and Backbone announced their partnership and launched the Backbone One – PlayStation Edition. This device serves as a mobile gaming controller that players can use with the PS Remote Play app on their iOS phones. 

While it features all the same functionality as a standard Backbone One mobile controller, the PlayStation Edition more closely resembles a DualSense with its white and gray color scheme and transparent d-pad and face buttons. Backbone confirmed to Digital Trends that the Backbone One – PlayStation Edition doesn’t include the DualSense’s haptic feedback or adaptive trigger features, with Founder and CEO Maneet Khaira explaining that those features didn’t ergonomically make sense in a mobile controller:

“Ergonomics and weight is always top of mind because we know that our players want a certain level of immersion in game when playing in the handheld form factor. That’s why we did extensive ergonomic evaluations and have consulted with multiple experts in usability and human factors when we thought through this design. Love the DualSense, it’s one of our favorite controllers ever made. This product is distinct in that it’s used primarily on mobile devices which have smaller form factors, and is therefore subject to its own unique constraints. As a result, it does not feature the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers in the DualSense. The size, ergonomics and weight of this product when combined with a phone allow players to enjoy playing the games they already love on their phone through PlayStation Remote Play with maximum comfort. Our goal wasn’t to mirror the features of the DualSense, it was to create the gaming essential for PlayStation on mobile while feeling at home within the PS5 lineup.”

While its relation to the PS5 controller is purely aesthetic, the controller can directly connect to the PlayStation Pulse 3D headset though, so you can now easily use that proprietary headset for mobile gaming. 

While the controller itself is mostly just aesthetic, some important iOS app updates have also launched alongside it. The Backbone app can now be navigated with touch controls, and users can now boot up their PS4 or PS5 straight from the PS Remote Play app on iOS. The Backbone app has even seen further integration with PlayStation, as it will show players a dedicated lineup of PlayStation-related games and updates and link players to the proper places to download those games onto their system. From there, these games can be played remotely with the PS Remote Play app and Backbone One – PlayStation.

It isn’t quite a new PlayStation Vita, but it’s still a PlayStation-approved controller that will let you play PS4 and PS5 games on a handheld device. If you want this DualSense-themed mobile controller, the iOS version of the Backbone One – PlayStation Edition is available now, with an Android model coming later this year.

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