PC gamers know that the greatest gaming joys are found on our rigs. The complaint that it’s awkward to set up gamepads with a PC is a myth, made all the more mythical by Steam’s recent integration of PS4 controller support into its platform, where it seamlessly lets your DualShock 4 work with any game that supports a gamepad.
There are a number of ways to connect your PS4 controller to your PC, and we have them all covered here.
Connect PS4 Controller via Bluetooth
Click the Start menu, type
bluetooth, then select “Bluetooth settings.”
In the new window, make sure Bluetooth is set to “On.”
With your controller off, hold the “Share” and “PS” buttons on the DualShock 4 until the light bar starts flashing.
Your controller should appear in the “Manage Bluetooth devices” window on your PC as “Wireless Controller.” Click “Pair,” then enter a passcode of your choice and click Next.
Your controller is now connected, and you can play any game that has support for the PS4 controller (such as the excellent Rocket League) as well as any games you may have running on emulators. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of controller-compatible Steam games are only compatible with Xbox controllers, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Connect PS4 Controller via USB Cable
If you don’t have Bluetooth, connect your PS4 controller to your PC using a micro-USB cable, and you’re good to go.
Use PS4 Controller as Xinput/Xbox Controller
It’s less of a problem than it used to be, but there are still many games out there that support Xbox controllers but not PS4 controllers (particularly with games outside of Steam). To maximize the compatibility of your PS4 controller, register it as an Xinput controller, which will essentially make Windows read it as an Xbox controller.
The best tool for this is DS4Windows, an open-source app that lets you reprogram your PS4 controller as an Xinput controller.
Once your PS4 controller is connected via Bluetooth or USB, open DS4Windows, and it will automatically turn your PS4 controller into an Xinput controller.
There are fun things to play around with in DS4Windows, like using the PS4 trackpad as a mouse on your PC, changing the controller light colors, getting it to flash when you have low battery and so on. Have a play-around with it. It’s a great tool!
Use PS4 Controller on Steam
So with your PS4 controller now registered for Windows, for Steam to acknowledge it, open Steam, which will automatically convert your PS4 controller to work with your games, even if they’re designed to work with Xbox controllers.
You can even use your PS4 controller with games that don’t officially support gamepads. To do this, open Big Picture mode (the gamepad icon at the top right of the Steam window), go to “Settings -> Controller Settings” and switch on “PS4 Configuration Support.”
In Big Picture mode, select a game in your library that doesn’t support controllers, go to “Manage Game” in the pane on the left, then “Controller Configuration.” Here you’ll be able to set up bespoke PS4 controls for your keyboard-and-mouse game. Roll on the big-screen gamepad sessions of Civilization or Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind!
And that’s it! You’re now using the best gamepad in the world on the best gaming platform in the world. And what better way to celebrate by using it to play PS1 games on your PC or, if your PC can handle it, play PS3 games on your PC.