Gaming on a PC doesn’t mean you’re forced to use a keyboard. A Windows 10 system supports game controllers but you’ll find most users prefer an Xbox controller since compatibility isn’t a problem. That said, there are still players who prefer to use a PlayStation controller over an Xbox one.
It might be a matter of personal choice or it might just be what they have on-hand. Connectivity-wise, PlayStation controllers connect to a Windows 10 machine almost as easy as an Xbox controller does, but there are a few exceptions.
Connect the PS4 controller to Windows 10
PS4 controllers come in both wired and wireless models and they can both be used on a Windows 10 system.
1. Connect via USB port
Windows 10 has native support for a wired DualShock Controller and other types of PS 4 and PS3 controllers.
- Connect the controller to your system via the USB port.
- Wait for Windows 10 to detect the device, and install drivers for it.
- You will see a prompt telling you the device is ready. Open a game, and start playing.
2. Connect via Windows 10 Bluetooth
A wireless PS4 controller can connect to a Windows 10 system via Bluetooth.
- Open the Settings app and go to Devices>Bluetooth.
- Make sure Bluetooth is On.
- Click the ‘Add Bluetooth or other device’ button.
- In the menu, click Bluetooth.
- Make sure the controller is On, and press the PlayStation + Share buttons together to enter pairing mode.
- The controller will appear in the menu on your Windows 10 system. Allow it to connect.
- Once connected, you can start using it to play games.
3. Connect with DS4Windows
A PS4 controller, whether it’s wired or wireless should be able to connect to the system via the native USB port or over Bluetooth however, there will always be exceptions. If you have a PS4 controller that won’t connect, use an app called DS4Windows.
- Make sure the controller is NOT connected to the system.
- Download and run DS4Windows.
- Extract the folder and run the DS4Windows.exe file.
- Select where you want to save the profile Program Files or AppData.
- Click ‘Install the DS4 Driver’.
- Allow the driver to install, and restart the system.
- Run the app and connect the controller (if it’s wired) or press and hold the PS4 and Share button (if it’s wireless).
- Go to the Controller tab in the app, and it should show the controller. You can now use it to play games.
4. Connect with InputMapper
DS4 Windows should be able to connect a PS4 controller, but again there may be exceptions. In that case, there’s another app you can try.
- Download and install InputMapper.
- Run the app and allow it to install the driver named ‘Scarlet.Crush Productions System devices’.
- Once installed, connect the controller to your system via Bluetooth or USB port, whichever type you have.
- Open the InputMapper app and the controller should appear in it. You can configure the controller in the app, or you can do it in the game that you play.
Configuring controllers in games
The above methods connect a PS4 controller to a Windows 10 system. Once connected, you may have to customize how it works within a game. Since it’s a PS4 controller, all buttons may not work the same in all games.
To change/check how the controller works in a game, follow the steps below.
- Make sure the controller is connected to the system.
- Open the game you want to play using the controller and go to its settings.
- Look for the controller settings. These differ based on every game’s own settings. If you can’t find the controller settings for a game, Google where they are.
- On the Controller settings screen within a game, look through what each button does, and change it if you need to. Make sure you save the configurations.
- Repeat this for all games that you want to play.
Games & controller support
PC games normally have controller support. It doesn’t matter if a game title has been released for a console platform or not. It will still have support for a controller.
Older games may not have support or they may not support the latest controllers but games like that will be a very small subset of the games that are available.
For games that do not have controller support, you can use InputMapper to map the controller keys to specific keyboard buttons that control gameplay. InputMapper supports multiple profiles so this should be easy enough to do for different games.
The results will differ based on the game and how old it is. If you’re using an emulator to play a game, it is best to configure the controller within the emulator instead of using InputMapper.
PS4 controllers are somewhat proprietary. It isn’t impossible to get them to work with a Windows 10 system and in many cases, the built-in Bluetooth and USB port options will do the job.
When you run into trouble, the DS4 Windows app will help you override the restrictions that the controller has.