If you’ve got a Dual Shock 4 in the house, then sooner or later, you’re going to want to use it to play games on your gaming PC, because frankly, some games just work better on a controller. That isn’t as easy as just plugging the Dual Shock 4 in, though. Here’s what you need to do to get your PS4 controller to work with your PC games.
How To Use A PlayStation 4 Controller On Your PC
What’s truly irritating is that you can plug a Dual Shock 4 into a Windows 10 PC, and your computer will obediently act like it recognizes the device. It will then proceed to do absolutely nothing with it, as most PC games are set up to use a form of controller input that isn’t compatible with the Dual Shock 4. You can’t get your PS4 controller to work on PC without a little extra tinkering. There are several ways to get it done, but here are my two go-to methods.
You can use Steam’s Big Picture mode to set up a PS4 controller for use with your Steam library. It’s designed for situations in which you’re playing your Steam games on your living room TV, but it works just as well if you’re at your computer desk.
Open Steam and click on the white square in the application’s upper right-hand corner, next to your username, to enter Big Picture mode; alternatively, the same menu will open if you select View > Settings > Controller > General Controller Settings from the main Steam menu. Next, click the gear icon in the upper right to open the Settings menu, and click Controller Settings. Here, you have the option to enable PlayStation Configuration Support. Plug in your controller and check that box.
Surprisingly, that’s all it takes. You can now exit out of Big Picture and freely use your Dual Shock 4 with your entire Steam library. While Steam will tell you that it needs to be in Big Picture mode to get the most out of your controller, I honestly haven’t noticed much of a difference either way.
Pros: Easy to set up, requires no additional tools, and probably works with most of your games…
Cons: …but what if you want to play something that isn’t on Steam?
You can also install DS4Windows, a lightweight freeware application that works by “tricking” Windows 10 into thinking your Dual Shock 4 is actually an Xbox controller. This does have the unfortunate side effect of changing all onscreen game prompts into Xbox notation, which can occasionally screw you over with things like quick-time events, but it otherwise works flawlessly.
The one problem with DS4Windows is that there are two versions out there, and one just flat-out doesn’t work. The Jays2Kings build on Github is three and a half years out of date and broken, but still shows up on the first page of most websearches for the program. The current working version is maintained by Ryochan7 on Github.
To set it up, first make sure your Dual Shock 4’s USB cable isn’t plugged into your PC yet. Now, download and install DS4Windows from Ryochan7’s site. You can extract it anywhere, so keep it with the rest of your similar applications on your computer; it’s also handy to keep a shortcut for it on your desktop. Once it’s installed, plug in your Dual Shock 4. It should pop up in the DS4Windows application, ready to use on the spot.
Pros: Effective, and reasonably effortless once it’s set up
Cons: Blowing a QTE in Resident Evil 4 and getting hit by a boulder
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You can argue about controllers vs. keyboard and mouse all day if you like, but especially with old-school arcade games, there’s no substitute for a good gamepad. Streets of Rage 4 in particular is ten times better on a pad or stick than a keyboard. Get in touch and share some of your favorite arcade games on PC with us via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.