Can I use a controller on my gaming PC?

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Yes, you can! Many people choose a Gaming PC for access to the keyboard and mouse, which in many games such as first-person shooters (FPS) provides extra controls. However, it’s possible to connect a PS4 or Xbox console controller to your PC if you prefer.

Those coming from consoles previously may prefer to use a controller they are familiar with rather than having to relearn and hone their skills using a keyboard and mouse. You may also have the controllers lying around anyway so why not use them! It also may allow for multiple people to play multiplayer games at the same time.

This guide will walk you through step by step what you need and how you connect the controllers to your gaming PC.

What you will need

We have 2 options available to us to connect the controller to the PC – Bluetooth for a wireless connection or USB if you don’t mind the wires.

Your motherboard may have Bluetooth built-in but if you don’t then you’ll need a Bluetooth USB adapter/dongle. I suggest one such as the MPOW Bluetooth 5.0 USB Adapter for PC or TP-LINK Nano USB Bluetooth 4.0 Adapter for PC. These dongles plug into your PC via USB and allow you to search for nearly by Bluetooth device and pair it with your computer. It’s a handle little device to have, allowing you to connect to devices such as headphones, speakers, TV’s (for casting content) etc.

Alternatively, you can use a micro USB cable which I’m sure, if you are anything like us, you have one lying about the house!

How to pair your controller via Bluetooth

Windows makes it extremely easy to pair your controller and get it connected. Press the Windows button and search for “Bluetooth”. Select “Bluetooth and other devices settings”.

Make sure Bluetooth is enabled at the top and press “Add bluetooth or other device”.

Press “Bluetooth”.

At this point, make sure your device is in pairing mode:

  • PlayStation 4: Press and hold the “Share” and “PlayStation” buttons together until the light on the back of the console flashes white quickly
  • Xbox: Press and hold the “Pair” button for 3 seconds until the Xbox button starts to flash quickly

You should now see your device. Click on it and it should connect.

It should now appear within your list of devices. I connected a PlayStation 4 controller and it was detected as “Wireless Controller”. Don’t worry if it doesn’t say the exact name you were expecting.

PlayStation 4 (PS4) Dual Shock 4 Controller

The PlayStation 4 (PS4) Dual Shock 4 Controller is a very popular and comfortable controller that works well with games on your gaming PC, due to the variety of buttons and excellent accuracy of the analog buttons. Did you know that you can also use the trackpad as a mouse on your computer?

Using Steam

If you are playing a game via Steam then your life is about to become that much easier. Steam has official support for the PS4 controller which means as soon as it’s connected to your PC you are good to go. Access the controller within Settings > Controller > General Controller Settings.

Using DS4Windows for other games (Xbox for Windows, Epic etc)

To use your PS4 controller while playing a game outside of Steam which doesn’t have official support, you’ll need to download DS4Windows from: https://ryochan7.github.io/ds4windows-site/

This small application will allow you to configure your controller to work with any gane within Windows.

When you first open DS4Windows you will need to follow the prompts and install the driver as part of the setup process.

DS4Windows should then recognise your controller as being connected. Here is mine connected via Bluetooth.

There are an overwhleming number of settings you can tweak such as reassigning buttons and changing sensitivity etc through the application.

By using this method my son was able to use a PS4 controller within Windows to play Forza Horizon 4. While this game displays the button inputs as an Xbox controller, it still works brilliantly with the PS4 controller including force feedback etc.

Xbox Controller

The Xbox controller is more natively supported within Windows 10 due to Microsoft creating both the Xbox and Windows. There tends not to be a workaround or requirement for additional software when using the XBox controller, it just works!

If you experience issues, check out the guide on the Microsoft website.

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