I know what some of you are thinking. Why would you want to use a PS4 controller on your laptop when you game? I understand where you are coming from. But, the fact is there are some games that just play better even on a PC when you use a controller. While Windows offers support for Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers, what about those of you with the PlayStation 4?
The PS4’s controller is one of the best controllers available today, with a button layout that is familiar and easily supported by most PC games with built-in controller support. On top of that, the built-in trackpad on the controller can even be used as a mouse input, much like the trackpad on your laptop.
While the setup procedure isn’t quite as easy as the Xbox controllers, and the PS4 Controllers aren’t plug and play, it’s not very difficult to connect and use them on your gaming laptop, whether you are running a high-end VR ready laptop or an affordable gaming laptop under $500. In fact, most of you should be able to connect your PS4 Controller in just a few short minutes.
What You Will Need
Before I show you how to set it up, you need to gather the PS4 accessories and supplies you need to set it up. Here’s what you will need:
- PS4 Controller
- Laptop (If possible, with Bluetooth)
- Micro USB Cable or Bluetooth Dongle (optional)
The micro USB cable or Bluetooth Dongle are optional and only needed if you don’t have a laptop with Bluetooth or if you prefer to connect to your laptop the old-fashioned way.
PS4 Controller and Steam
Steam is one of the most popular gaming platforms available for PC, and they have released an update that allows you to use the PS4 Controller with almost any game in your Steam library. To use it with Steam, simply load Steam and run any updates to make sure your version of Steam supports the PS4 controller. Plug in your controller and launch your favorite game from your Steam library. But remember, this will only work with games downloaded and installed through Steam.
Setting Up the PS4 Controller with Your Laptop
If you want to use your PS4 Controller with your laptop while you play other games that aren’t from Steam, then you must follow the steps below. Don’t worry, the process is easy and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.
Install the Software
Remember when I said it wasn’t quite plug and play? Now you will see why. By default, Windows will not recognize your PS4 controller. However, by downloading and running DS4Windows, you can fool Windows into thinking that your PS4 Controller is an Xbox 360 controller, which is natively supported by Windows 10. To get the software, simply visit the website and download it, then run DS4Windows.exe to begin the setup procedure.
The first time you launch the application, you will be asked where to store your profiles. I suggest you keep the default location, unless you want to regular tinker with your profiles later. A new window will popup. Click on “Install the DS4 Driver” to setup your PS4 Controller. This procedure will work for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. If you have Windows 7, you will also need to click on “Install 360 Driver.”
Connect the PS4 Controller to Your Laptop
The PS4 Controller can be connected in two different ways:
- Micro USB Cable
If your laptop has Bluetooth, I recommend pairing it with your laptop using the Bluetooth settings in Windows. To pair it, press and hold the central PS button and the Share button for three seconds until the lightbar at the top begins to flash. Then check your Bluetooth connection in the taskbar of Windows and select “Wireless Controller.” During the process, you may be asked to enter a code, if so enter “0000”. Once complete, your PS4 controller will be paired with your Windows laptop. Now you can game wirelessly much like you do on your PS4.
However, if you don’t have Bluetooth, you can connect a micro USB cable to your controller and then to your laptop. Just make sure the cable is long enough for you to play your favorite games comfortably. This setup is a bit easier, since all you have to do is plug a cable into your controller and PC.
While the PS4 controller is a great controller choice for PC users, there are a couple of limitations that you should be aware of, outside of running third-party software to do it.
First, not every game will support it, even if they include basic controller support. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use it, it only means that your game of choice may not have all the controls mapped properly for the PS4 controller. You will need to map the buttons yourself in the game in order for it to work properly.
Next, is the audio jack on the controller. Currently, there is no support for the built-in audio jack on your PS4 controller. I wouldn’t let that stop you from buying a headset or other amazing PS4 accessories. Just remember to plug them directly into your laptop if you’re going to use them.
Of all the controllers I have used over the years, the PS4 controller is one of my personal favorites. Really, it may even be a tie between it and the Xbox controllers that are so popular today. While I wish that Windows would support it natively, it’s no surprise that you have to jump though a few hoops to get it work, especially when you consider the rivalry between Microsoft and Sony.
However, thanks to DS4Games, the process is still pretty simple and almost anyone should be able to connect their PS4 controller to their laptop.
Do you use a Sony PS4 Controller or an Xbox One controller on your laptop? If so, which one do you like better. Tell me your thoughts and opinions on both the controllers and how well they work on Windows in the comments below.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.