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How To Use a PlayStation 4 Controller on PC

By Wesley Fenlon

An easy-to-use tool makes the DualShock 4 work exactly like an Xbox 360 controller.

The Xbox 360 controller managed to do something unprecedented for PC gamers: It standardized gamepad controls for the PC, giving developers a single input to account for and a common set of buttons to integrate into UIs. The XInput API made the Xbox 360 controller plug and play. It just works. And now so does Sony's new DualShock 4, thanks to an intrepid modder named InhexSTER and his DS4Tool.

InhexSTER used the ubiquity of Microsoft's XInput API to bring the DualShock 4 to life on PC, with rumble motors rumbling and RGB lights aglow. DS4Tool is a wrapper that essentially tricks Windows into thinking the DualShock 4 is an Xbox 360 controller. After a couple minutes of setup, it can automatically detect a DS4 synced via USB or Bluetooth and map the buttons automatically. InhexSTER is also updating the tool regularly; since the first release in November, he's reduced latency and added rumble, LED color sliders, and touchpad support (as a mouse cursor).

DS4 to XInput Mapper is currently on version 1.1 Beta 3. Here's how to set it up on your PC in a few minutes, step by step.

  1. Download the latest version of DS4 Tool from InhexSTER's thread on the PCSX2 forums. The tool is attached to the post and comes in a small 700kb zip file.
  2. Extract the zip file and open the Virtual Bus Driver folder. Run ScpDriver.exe.
  3. Click "Install" in the ScpDriver window. The application should say that Bus Driver and Bus Device are installed.

At this point, ScpServer.exe is installed; this is the application you'll run to make the DualShock function like an Xbox 360 pad. This is a good time to make sure Windows will properly recognize the controller when you try to sync it.

InhexSTER's post says to make sure you have the following on your computer:

  1. Microsoft .NET 4.0
  2. Visual C 2010 Runtime.
  3. Latest DirectX Runtime.
  4. Latest Official Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller Drivers available.
  5. Minimum of Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR Dongle (if using Bluetooth).
  6. Administrator rights on your PC.

If you've ever used an Xbox 360 controller on your PC, 1-4 shouldn't be a problem. You've almost certainly already got those covered. If you want to use Bluetooth, you'll need a semi-recent Bluetooth adapter (2.1 + EDR was introduced in 2007). If you're plugging in the controller via USB, ignore this one. If you use the primary account on your PC, admin rights shouldn't be an issue. One last note: If you currently have MotionJoy installed, the drivers may interfere with DS4 Tool.

Let's walk through a USB DualShock setup first.

  1. Close Steam, any running games, and unplug any Xbox 360 controllers you currently have plugged in, just to simplify the syncing process.
  2. Plus the DualShock 4 in with a microUSB cord.
  3. Launch ScpServer.exe. It should automatically detect the controller and apply the mapping. If you already have the program open, click Stop, and then Start, to refresh detection.

Now for Bluetooth. This is a bit more involved, and may give you difficulty if your Bluetooth driver is as finicky as mine. Also, based on some user feedback, InhexSTER notes that DS4 Tool may not work properly with Toshiba Bluetooth adapters.

  1. Open Devices and Printers from the Windows Control Panel. Alternately, if you have the Bluetooth symbol in your system tray, you'll be able to use that to sync the controller.
  2. Hold the Share and PlayStation buttons on the DS4 for a few seconds, until the LED begins flashing rapidly.
  3. In Devices and Printers, or from the Bluetooth system tray icon, click Add a Device. The DualShock will likely show up as something generic like Wireless Controller.
  4. Once Windows informs you that the device is synced--you'll probably get a system tray popup stating that new hardware has been installed--open ScpServer.exe. It should automatically detect the controller and apply the mapping. If you already have the program open, click Stop, and then Start, to refresh detection.

If everything works properly, you should see an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows listed under Devices and Printers. That means DS4 Tool has successfully fooled Windows into thinking the DualShock is an Xbox controller.

With a controller set up, take a second to dig into DS4 Tool's options. You can sync up to four controllers via Bluetooth and USB, and configure the LED color, rumble pressure, and touchpad sensitivity of each one. The touchpad is disabled by default, but can be enabled in the options menu, or by pressing L2+R2+clicking the touchpad. The full controls are listed in InhexSTER's readme:

  • L2 + R2 + Touchpad = Enables touchpad as mouse
  • L2 + Touchpad = Disables touchpad (useful in some games)
  • L1 = Left click while touchpad is enabled
  • R2 = Right click while touchpad is enabled

At this point, the DualShock 4 is easily compatible with any games with native Xbox 360 controller support. Of course, the 360-specific button prompts won't be changed over to PlayStation's Square, Triangle, Cross and Circle. But if you know how those controls correspond to the 360 buttons, you're good to go.

InhexSTER plans to continue updating the tool, so keep an eye on the forum thread for new builds and to troubleshoot any issues with syncing the controller. Until Sony releases official PC drivers, this is the best it's going to get.