PSA: PS4 Dualshock4 on Windows

With the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I was motivated to get a reliable, comfortable wireless controller working with my gaming PC. After ditching my Logitech because it had range issues in my living room, I had decided on wired PC/360 controllers for awhile. The wireless 360 controllers for PC always concerned me because apparently now you can’t get a genuine receiver for them, only knock-offs that may not be reliable. Why Microsoft has stopped making/selling them, I do not know.

Regardless, I wanted the newest tech, not last-gen, so I looked at the XBox One controller and PS4 Dualshock 4. The XBone controller uses some sort of “wifi direct” tech and has no adapter for PC. The DS4 on the other hand uses standard bluetooth and will pair to your PC wirelessly without a whole lot of fuss. Make sure you get a Bluetooth 4.0 adapter just to be safe, but they’re the same price as BT 2.0 and 3.0 devices, so no big deal. Just get the 4.0 one. Sony has not released Windows drivers for the DS4, so it requires extra software to get full game compatibility. But it turns out that extra layer is really easy and flexible.

Enter two pieces of software, confusingly, identically named. DS4Windows and DS4Windows. (The former is the one I had the best luck with.) Both are forked from the same base but are taking the UI in slightly different directions. I ran into major issues with both initially where the Steam UI would work with them just fine, and all the input testers were spot-on, but the few games I tried wouldn’t work at all. I discovered this was because I was leaving my wired 360 controller plugged in. Apparently this was confusing something, either Windows or the games, and they wouldn’t use the DS4. After unplugging the wired controller and rebooting with the DS4 software opening on boot, no more issues. Dragon Age: Inquisition works perfectly with it. Additionally, ensuring that the software loads before Steam opens also helps significantly.

Here are the bonuses of using a DS4 over all other options:

  1. They still work with your PS4 after a simple re-pair.
  2. They work just like a 360 controller on your PC, except with the modern grip and weight.
  3. The software allows for tons of customization for games that need help recognizing controllers, and allows programmable macros.
  4. The touchpad works as a mouse!! How cool is that?

Needless to say, I’m pretty sold on the DS4 as my go-to controller for PC. I have an Xbone controller I used for testing but expect I will sell it on Craigslist. The DS4 is where it’s at. (It also helps that I own a PS4 and not an Xbone.)