Remote Work, Remote Play

Ed Zitron 2 min read
Remote Work, Remote Play

As we hurtle toward Thanksgiving, I am feeling very stupid for even thinking that I could have had family visit, even with a negative COVID test. Apparently this was very stupid of me, but thankfully (?) everyone canceled for other reasons, likely due to my disgraceful personal hygiene and/or personality. Everything feels exhausting despite me doing nothing other than using the computer for work, and I think everyone is in the same work-self loathing cycle every day.

Remote Magic

I have played roughly 25 hours of games on the PlayStation 5 so far, and of those I think maybe 3 have been in front of the TV. I’ve been using remote play on my network and a Backbone One controller to clip on my phone so that I can play while watching complete trash on television, specifically Below Deck, and it’s incredible. The remote play experience by the way, not the show. The show is dreck, but I will watch every minute of it.

It works by setting up your PS5 (this also works on the PS4, the Xbox Series X/S, and I imagine previous generations) with the remote play app, which takes very little effort. I’ve only used it across my network, but I’ve been able to play Demon Souls and got quite far in it - I am not dealing with any lag, and I’ve had maybe one time total where I’ve had to close out of the app and reconnect.


The Backbone connects into the lightning clip of your iPhone, and it just…works. It has its own app which is fine, and apparently has social features I will never use. It also apparently works on iOS apps with support for controllers which, again, I will likely never use. But for remote play (which the Backbone works great with) it’s genuinely amazing. I’ve only ever used it on my network, but it works fantastically. It also worked well before I had fiber and the Backbone - I’d connect my PS4 controller to my phone using the app, which was wonky but allowed me to do 9 seasons in The Show without me snapping my phone in two.

Anyway - the reason I’m writing all of this is that because of the PS5 and XBXX (that name does not shorten nicely)’s crazy load times, the remote experience is genuinely magical now. It graphically looks great - not 4K, and if you’re expecting that get outta here! - and runs beautifully, and loads instantly like the apps on your phone. It’s crazy! I love it! I’m astounded more people haven’t written more about this, and I do not know why. But if I was doing PR for these consoles I’d be actively partnering with Backbone (or Razer) to get people to try it out, assuming they had the home networking gear. However, as with all big companies, I assume that levels of bureaucracy in PR make for an impossible conversation beyond “you want play game is game good yes.”

I will say that the experience was better when I had my PS5 or Xbox hardwired, but it did work on WiFi. But this is seriously worth it.

In Other News…

Stadia is coming to iPhone. The service stinks, so I have no idea why it’s still around, just an impossible idea with the quality standards of broadband in this country. Do anything else!

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