One of the greatest things about playing games on a PC is the ability to use console controllers with your video games. The games in which you can use controllers on depends on whether or not they support them entirely, but sometimes controllers can be the better way to play these games instead of using a keyboard and a mouse; Rocket League is a great example of this, in my opinion…
While Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers can simply be plugged into your PC’s USB port and played almost immediately, PS4 controllers are unfortunately a whole different ball game entirely, and PS3 ones are incompatible altogether…
PS4 controllers require special software in order for them to work with your computer; the software is free, thankfully, but it can be a big nuisance, especially when you consider that some gamers prefer the style and feel of the PS4 controller compared to either of the Xbox controllers.
Perhaps the little touch pad on the controller appeals to people; or maybe the size of the controller is just right for a few people…
Nevertheless, in order for you to properly use a PS4 controller with your gaming PC – be it a laptop or a desktop – you will need to be given a step-by-step guide on how to set one up properly… and that’s where I come in.
How to Set up a PS4 Controller for Your PC
Before we get started, however, you should know that there is not one, but two ways in which you can set up a PS4 controller with your PC… The first one we’ll start with is going to be with Steam.
Steam is perhaps the most popular place where you can get PC games from; with over 125 million registered players and over 781 million games ready to be downloaded and played, I would be very surprised if you’re a PC gamer and you don’t have it installed yet… 😉
One feature of Steam which many people don’t seem to know about is the support for the PS4 controller; basically, you can plug in your PS4 controller to your PC, go into Steam’s Big Picture Mode which is one of the different styles you can use Steam with (I personally never use Big Picture mode) and configure your controller from the settings.
In the settings, you can choose whether you want your controller to rumble or not, and you can choose what colour you want the controller’s light to be.
To keep it simple and short; in order for a PS4 controller to work on Steam, you will need to:
- Install Steam (if you don’t already have it)
- Wait for any updates to finish
- Enter Big Picture mode using the maximize logo in the top right corner of the window
- Go to the Controller section and click on “Controller Settings”
- Tick where it says “PS4 Configuration Support”.
- Customize your controller settings
And there you have it; you should now be ready to use your PS4 controller with any Steam game that has controller support.
…But what if you want to use your controller with games that aren’t on Steam?
If you wish to use a PS4 controller with games that aren’t on Steam, or you purchased elsewhere, then you will need to use additional software as Steam won’t branch out its controller support to non-Steam games; the additional software we are going to look at is called DS4.
This is essentially a piece of software which tricks you computer into thinking that your PS4 controller is actually an Xbox 360 controller, and as such will allow you to use it with pretty much any PC game that has controller support. You can use it to replace Steam’s PS4 controller support if you really wanted too…
So, how are you going to set it up?
Well, first you will need to download it from its website; once you’ve saved it to your computer, you will next need to find where you saved it and open the zip file, before extracting those files to either the same folder or a different one altogether.
Once you’ve finished extracting the files, there should be two applications called “DS4Updater.exe” and “DS4Windows.exe”. The next thing you need to do now is click on the DS4 Windows application; the DS4 Updater does what it says on the box; it updates the software automatically – it would be best for you to update it before opening up the main application.
When you launch DS4 for the first time, you will be asked where you want to save your settings and custom profiles; the default location of “Appdata” is fine enough, but you can choose your own location if you really want to.
Once you’ve chosen a location, you will be prompted to download a driver for DS4 in order for it to work; if you have either Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, you should click on the first step. If, on the other hand, you have Windows 7, you will then need to click on the second step instead, but only if you haven’t used an Xbox 360 controller on your computer before.
Once the correct drivers have been downloaded, you need to plug your PS4 controller into your computer and open up DS4; you newly connected controller should be registered in DS4 and you will be ready to use it with any game that has controller support.
So, to break it down for you:
- Download DS4 from its website
- Save the zip file somewhere on your computer and open it
- Extract the two applications and click on the updater first
- Once updated, click on the main application afterwards to begin the setup
- Install the drivers (if you’re using Windows 7, install the 360 driver if you haven’t used a 360 controller before with it)
- Connect your PS4 controller to your PC and wait for DS4 to recognise it
- You’re now ready to use your PS4 controller with any controller-supported PC game!
Incidentally, if DS4 doesn’t immediately find your controller when you plugged it into your computer, you need to type “Device Manager” in your search bar, and open it up; then scroll down to the “Human Interface Devices” section, and click on the drop-down arrow.
Go down the list until you find “HID-complaint game controller” – the beginning may be worded differently, but you will essentially need to find “game controller”. Right click on it, then select “Enable”; the list should refresh and now your controller should be picked up by DS4 if you open it up again. 😉
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you use a PS4 controller with your gaming PC by using either Steam or DS4. The PC platform is very versatile and allows you to customize it to however you see fit; being able to use a console controller with it is just one example of why it’s such a good platform for video games… in my opinion, anyway. 😉
If you have any questions at all with this post or using controllers with your gaming PC, please don’t be afraid of posting any comments down in the comment section below. 😉
Jamie – the PC Gaming Nerd