by Brandon Butler
Backbone One 10/29/2020

Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch:

I get to play with a lot of new hardware from startups and it runs the gamut from super polished to barely working, neither of which is a value judgement! But every once in a while I get to mess with a new piece of kit that is just so fully realized that I am literally shocked.

The Backbone One controller is one of those situations. It’s a game controller for iPhones that has slick ergonomics, solid button feel, sensitive analog triggers and great build quality. But what makes Backbone One special is the companion app and service that ships with it and enables a truly clever software layer enabling cross-app multiplayer, game recording, highlight editing and quick swap. […]

I’ve had Apple Arcade since it was released but I haven’t played it in months.

On Twitter, Panzarino quipped:

Backbone One on iPhone 11 Pro Max vs. Nintendo Switch Lite. Better screen, better battery life, better trigger feel, no Mario.

And that feels about right to me. iOS doesn’t have a killer, must have game, which is probably why Arcade has languished. You can make great controllers and buttons, but if there aren’t any fun games, what are you playing?

Panzarino at TechCrunch again:

Sometimes a list of investors can tell you a lot about how serious a company is about getting the right kind of money. For a company building a gaming service and peripheral hardware, Backbone couldn’t have a more solid column. Backbone is backed by MrBeast, Preston, Kwebbelkop, Typical Gamer, Night Media, Nadeshot, and Ludlow Ventures, as well as Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures. Pretty much exactly the profile I would want to see for a company serious about social and mobile gaming.

That is a great list of backers: if anyone can crack iOS gaming, these guys can. Sounds like they have the hardware, now we just need the games.