Some PC gamers might smirk at the idea of using a controller to play their games rather than a mouse and keyboard, but we'd argue that there are a lot of games that work far better with this configuration.
If you're looking to use a controller, then the PS4's DualShock 4 is a great choice. Its button layout includes all the buttons that most controller-based PC games are made for, and you can even use its trackpad as a mouse input.
The only downside is that the controller's audio jack isn't currently supported, meaning you'll have to plug your headphones directly into your computer if you want to use them.
- Need a cheap controller? Here are the best DualShock 4 deals.
You don't even need a PS4 to experience the DualShock 4 – all you need is the controller, a Windows PC and and a USB cable. You used to need to use specialist software to use the DualShock 4 on a PC, but Sony has now made it even easier to connect the DualShock 4 to your PC and get it running.
You can also use the PS4 controller wirelessly with your PC via Bluetooth. You'll either need a PC that has Bluetooth built in (as many modern laptops do), or you can buy a separate Sony PlayStation 4 DualShock USB Wireless Adaptor dongle that plugs into your PC's USB port. Sony produces an official version, but any Bluetooth adapter that supports Bluetooth 2 and above should work.
How to use the PS4 DualShock controller in Steam
Steam, the popular storefront and game launcher, has released a new update that allows you to use the PS4 DualShock controller on your PC when running the application.
Although the PS4 DualShock 4 support is in beta, it still makes it easy for you to plug in the controller and control your PC games. You can control the TV-friendly Big Picture Mode of Steam using the DualShock 4, and games will now show PS4 button prompts in game.
To use the PS4 DualShock controller on your PC in Steam, load up Steam and check for updates, then once the latest update has installed, plug in your DualShock 4 (or connect via Bluetooth) and you'll be good to go!
To find out how to use a PS4 DualShock controller on your PC without using Steam, read on below.
How to use the PS4 controller on PC
1. Download DS4Windows
While using the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on your PC is pretty simple, it's not quite plug-and-play, as you'll need to install an additional piece of software to get it working on your PC.
The software is called DS4Windows, and it makes connecting the PS4 controller to your PC incredibly simple. It basically fools your PC into thinking the connected DualShock 4 is an Xbox 360 controller, which is supported in Windows.
To get it from the DS4Windows website just click the Download Now button.
2. Install DS4Windows
Locate the downloaded DS4Windows.zip file, right-click on it and select 'Extract All…'
A window will appear asking you where you want to extract the files to. You can either choose to extract them to the folder to which you downloaded the zip file, or choose another folder.
Once the files have been extracted the destination folder will open, and you'll see two files. One, DS4Updater.exe, is a program that will keep the DS4Windows program updated with the latest drivers, so it's worth running this file if you encounter problems later.
Double-click the second file, DS4Windows.exe, to begin the setup procedure that will get the PS4 Dualshock Controller working on your PC.
3. Set up DS4Windows
When you launch DS4Windows for the first time you'll be asked where you want your settings and profiles to be saved – we'd recommend using the default selection of 'Appdata'.
If you have Windows 7 or older then you'll need to click on 'Install 360 Driver' as well.
4. Connect the PS4 controller to your PC via USB
Now you'll be able to connect your PS4 DualShock 4 controller to your PC. You can do this in two ways – either via a USB cable or via Bluetooth.
To connect the PS4 DualShock controller to your PC via a USB cable you just need a regular micro USB cable – the same one that comes with many modern smartphones.
Once you've plugged the cable into both the DualShock controller and your PC, Windows should detect it, and you'll be ready to play PC games using the PS4 controller.
5. Connect the PS4 controller to your PC via Bluetooth
One of the best things about using the PS4 DualShock 4 controller on your PC is that you can use it wirelessly, giving you far more flexibility when gaming.
The PS4 DualShock 4 controller uses Bluetooth, so you'll need to make sure your PC or laptop has a Bluetooth receiver built in. If it doesn't, you can buy a Bluetooth USB dongle such as the Tiny USB 2.0 Bluetooth Mini Wireless Adapter; not only is this small enough to be plugged unobtrusively into your PC, it's also pretty cheap at just £2.99 (around US$4.55, AU$6.40).
To connect the PS4 controller via Bluetooth, press and hold the central PS Button and the Share button for three seconds until the lightbar at the top of the controller begins to flash.
Next open up the Bluetooth settings on your PC. In Windows 10, click on the speech bubble icon in the Taskbar at the bottom-right corner of your screen. This opens up the Action Center – from there click 'Bluetooth' and then select 'Wireless Controller'.
You may be asked to enter a pair code – if so type in 0000. The PS4 DualShock controller will now be connected wirelessly to your PC.