Us PC folk 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.
Connect PS4 Controller via Official Adapter
The simplest (though most expensive) way to connect your PS4 controller to your Windows PC is via the official DualShock 4 wireless adapter. Although more pricey, it enables all the DualShock 4 features, including the motion sensors and headset jack, which isn’t something that will work with your bog-standard Bluetooth adapter.
If that particular feature doesn’t bother you ,though, then read on for a plethora of free options.
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, you can connect your PS4 controller to your PC using a micro-USB cable, and you’re good to go.
Use PS4 Controller on Steam
So with your PS4 controller now registered for Windows, all you need to do for Steam to acknowledge it is 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), and go to “Settings -> Controller Settings” and switch on “PS4 Configuration Support.”
Next, in Big Picture mode select a game in your library that doesn’t support controllers, go to “Manage Game” in the left hand pane, 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!
Use PS4 Controller with Non-Steam Games
So you’re sorted on Steam, but what about games from other platforms (such as GOG, UPlay, EA Origin, etc.) that support X360 gamepads but not PS4 ones? You’ll need to get a program that maps your DualShock 4 controls onto the Xbox controller drivers built into Window 10. (If you’re unsure whether or not you have the Xbox 360 controller drivers for Windows, get them here.)
Next, download Input Mapper and install it on your PC. This is, in my opinion, the best PS4-X360 controller mapper around. It works smoothly and doesn’t do anything dodgy like hijacking your Bluetooth drivers (which other similar programs, such as MotionInJoy, sometimes do).
Open InputMapper. Whether your controller is connected wirelessly or via a cable, it should detect your controller automatically, setting up a profile for it and effectively turning it into an Xbox 360 controller right away, with all the PS4 gamepad buttons automatically mapped to their X360 equivalents.
Click the small icon with the “+” sign on it next to the Bluetooth icon to take a look at all the controller settings. While most of these work fine as they are, I like to make the PS4 trackpad usable as a mouse, which you can do by clicking the Configuration tab, then ticking the “Trackpad as Mouse” box – particularly useful if you’re playing on the couch in front of the TV and can’t be bothered to go over to your computer when you want to change games.
And that’s it! You’re now using the best gamepad in the world on the best gaming platform in the world. Obviously, such statements are bound to attract some comments disagreeing one way or the other. So by all means share your thoughts in the comments. Just keep it civil please.