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Backbone reveals an update to the best mobile gaming controller on the market

Published Nov 8th, 2023 4:36PM EST
Backbone One holiday update 2023
Image: Backbone

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We finally have an update to the Backbone One! I personally love my Backbone One controller, so I’m excited to see that the company is finally updating it after three years of — in my opinion — revolutionizing mobile gaming.

The Backbone One was originally launched in October 2020, so the controller has been on the market for quite a while now. The company did technically update the controller when it released the PlayStation edition back in July 2022. That controller came decked out with the same layout but buttons and coloring specific to the PlayStation brand.

So, while the design changed, the features of the controller remained the same. That changes today. In a blog post, Backbone announced a number of updates for the holidays, including an actual hardware update to the Backbone One controller. The new version, which is available today, includes an upgraded D-pad and magnetic adapters for “even better phone fit.” What that really means is that the new version can finally fit a phone with a case still on it — fixing one of the biggest complaints about the first generation.

These new controllers continue our commitment to impeccable design and further our position as the leader in mobile and cloud gaming devices. Magnetic adapters allow for even better phone fit and a reshaped D-pad enhances responsiveness, resulting in superior feel and control across multiple genres of gameplay–all while still maintaining the form factor and ergonomics that players know and love. When combined with the Backbone app–which puts all of gaming in one place–it’s our most accessible gaming experience ever. 

Personally, I’m a sucker for a good D-pad. It’s such a vital part of tons of games, and hardcore gamers hate a bad D-pad, so I’m glad the company improved that part of the controller. The magnetic adapters also look much more elegant than the 3D-printed ones that the company offered to users over the last couple of years. The 2nd generation of the Backbone One is available now and Backbone+ can get $30 off if they claim a discount through the Backbone app through November 17th.

The company also announced a refresh to the iOS and Android app, which it describes as a new “look and feel of the Backbone app for a rich and interactive experience when discovering games across all kinds of gaming: Remote Play, Cloud Gaming, and App Store.”

It also is releasing its first carrying case for the Backbone One controller. The carrying case will be available in black as well as a Playstation-branded white version. The carrying case costs $24.99 and is also available to order starting today. If you’re a Backbone+ subscriber, you’ll get a 20% discount on the carrying case if you order through the Backbone app.

For anyone who purchases one of the new Backbone One controllers between today and May 8, 2025, they’ll get three free months of Apple Arcade. In addition to the free trial, Backbone says that it is also “launching a new experience inside the Backbone app” that will “enable instant game launching and gameplay of the Apple Arcade titles.”

I’ve been a huge fan of Backbone since it launched back in 2020. It is easily the best controller I’ve ever used to play games on my iPhone. Whether it be games from the App Store, Apple Arcade, or from Xbox through Remote Play or Xbox Cloud Gaming, the Backbone has been a fantastic way to elevate those experiences.

I’ll be picking up the new version and the case for travel and storage. This is such a great gift idea for the gamers in your life for the holidays, so I might end up buying a few of these this year.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.