Announcing Backbone+

October 22, 2021  •  6 min read

Overview

Since its launch several months ago, we've heard from players around the world that Backbone One is the best gaming device on iOS. But we've also gotten a ton of feedback from players about the associated Backbone app.

Today, we're excited to unveil our new Backbone+ service, which reimagines the Backbone app as the feature-rich home for gaming on mobile.

Halo Infinite (Preview) on Xbox Remote Play. Captured via Backbone's new Smart Record feature.

Let's delve into the bevy of new features launching with Backbone+.

Play On Any Screen

As part of the new update, users can now use their Backbone with other devices like iPad, Mac, and PC to play services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google Stadia.

To use the feature, select the device you want to play on in the Backbone app's settings menu and then connect your Backbone One to the device with a USB cable. The Backbone Button will glow blue in this mode to indicate that it's being used with another device.

We've optimized the latency and performance for each individual device. With this feature, the end-to-end input latency is best in class, lower than traditional Bluetooth controllers, making it optimal for cloud gaming.

Connect your Backbone One to your iPad, PC, or Mac and play games like Halo through Xbox Cloud Gaming

Now that we have this feature, can you guys please stop doing this? Yeah, that's right. We see all that sh*t. Every time he sees a post like this, Matty, our industrial designer, cringes. Please don't make Matty cringe. +1 for Matty.

Backbone One is also now compatible with the new Stadia Phone Link feature, which allows you to use your phone to control any other device running Stadia. You can enable this in the Stadia app.

Next-Level Game Recording

Backbone's game recording, editing, and sharing tools now support 1080p 60 FPS game recording across the entire litany of iOS 15.0 devices (iPhone 6s or later). We're also supporting HEVC encoding for 60 FPS (enabled by default), meaning your files will be approximately half the size as H.264 encoded videos with roughly the same quality.

Backbone's ML-powered Activity feature for efficient editing.

With 60 FPS enabled, Backbone supports up to a 30mbps bitrate on select high-end devices. It's also enabled by default on the latest app update. The game recording quality on your Backbone is now on par with the default on your PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Last 15 Seconds Recording

You can now enable a mode inside of the Backbone app called Smart Record. While in this mode, the Backbone Button will glow yellow, and you can hold down the Capture Button to save the last 15 seconds of gameplay.

The Smart Record mode enables you to capture the last 15 seconds of gameplay.

Twitch Streaming

Streaming to Twitch often requires an expensive and complicated setup.

In the Backbone app, you can now go live on Twitch instantly and share the link with your friends. We've refined the entire process to take less than 10 seconds.

Twitch live streams will also automatically populate inside of the app so other Backbone users can see them on the home screen. This will help boost your viewer count (we got you).

Bonus: The Backbone Button glows purple while you're streaming to Twitch.

More Immersion With iOS 15 Gaming Mode

Players in the Backbone community have long envisaged a future where Backbone offered some kind of integrated gaming mode.

"If only Backbone could auto-magically put an end to the ceaseless pell-mell of phone notifications that threaten to pry you from the tantalizing grips of Hades on Xbox Cloud Gaming," quipped one wide-eyed Redditor. "At that point, the lines between Backbone and a powerful gaming handheld would become so porous as to make them indistinguishable... "

Alas poor Redditor! Fret not—this is not some far-flung reality. In iOS 15, you can now transcend to a higher plane of existence by turning on the new gaming focus mode, which is fully compatible with Backbone.

Backbone integrates with the gaming mode on iOS 15 for a more immersive experience.

Indeed, gaming on your phone can be annoying because of all the notifications and random pop-ups. Gaming mode intelligently hides unimportant notifications and inbound while your Backbone is connected, so you don't get pulled out of the gaming experience.

One Place For All The Things We Play

It's been incredible to watch the community form around Backbone. We never thought users would rave about streaming Deathloop from their PS5 via PS Remote Play, getting back-to-back 100+ kill games in Call of Duty: Mobile, and achieving 100% completion on Cyberpunk 2077 via Stadia all in the same breath and more frequently than not while on the toilet.

Increasingly, Backbone's vision is to be the home for core gaming on mobile devices—a connective tissue between all the disparate experiences you can now have. Regardless of whether you're playing Call of Duty: Mobile, PS5 Remote Play, or the all-new Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy through Nvidia GeForce Now, we want to offer you one place for all the latest content, games and news.

A New Home

The Backbone app home screen now unifies info across all major services (Xbox Cloud Gaming, Apple Arcade, etc.)—not just native iOS games.

Ain't that slick?

We've forged a partnership with the awesome folks over at Twitch to use IGDB as a back-end for our games metadata. Upon entering the app, you'll find that it now aggregates content and news across all streaming services and App Store titles. You'll start to see more and more rich editorial content roll out in the coming weeks and months.

Reactions and Screen Share

Watch, share, and react to gameplay directly from the community as well as discover new games to play.
Stream to your friends by sharing your screen inside Rooms and Parties.

Improved Performance

The Backbone app load times have been improved. It's a lot faster on low end devices especially.

The old search experience left a lot to be desired. In this update, we've made it more efficient to find games you care about, introducing searching and filtering across all services.

All your gaming. In one place.

Backbone+

With these new features, we're excited to unveil Backbone+.

Backbone+ gives players access to:

  • Exclusive perks, like free months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, other service free trials, in-game items, and many more perks to come.
  • Access to the revamped Backbone app, including the trove of new features above as well as future ones.

As a gift to all of our current players, we'll be automatically giving users who created a Backbone account before today free lifetime Backbone+ membership. No action needed. To further commemorate our current players, we will also be offering them early access to the exclusive and limited edition Almighty Shield of Backbone NFT drop made available through the Backbone app.

All new users will also automatically receive 1 year free of Backbone+ membership with their purchase of Backbone One.

Backbone+ is optional. You can still play games with Backbone One without it, but the software experience requires Backbone+ membership.

If you don't redeem your 1 free year, or decide not to subscribe, the app will still automatically install new software updates to the device to help maintain compatibility with future versions of iOS as well give you access to device info.

Lastly, if you are interested in working on the future of gaming software and hardware, we're hiring across a number of new roles.