The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are both off to predictably slow starts in terms of games, with few major titles slated to be released until later this year. That doesn’t change the fact that the DualShock 4, the PS4’s bundled controller, is one of the finest gamepads I’ve handled. It’s comfortable, solidly built, and boasts analogue sticks and triggers that feel just right. Unfortunately, you can only use it with the PlayStation 4 console. Well, officially, that is…
PCSX2 forum users InhexSTER and electrobrains have been working in tandem on a program called DS4Tool that lets you connect your DualShock 4 to your PC. That means you can enjoy DualShock 4 goodness with classic, retro, last-gen, and cross-platform titles available on Steam, GOG.com, and other services. The library of titles you can play using the controller has opened up considerably with this utility.
InhexSTER adapted code from the DualShock 3 Scp Tool, an open source driver for connecting the DualShock 3 controller to a PC (though we still recommend using MotioninJoy instead if you want to use the last-generation PlayStation gamepad), and he and electrobrains have been hacking away at it to fix bugs and improve performance.
The program is a wrapper that modifies the DualShock 4’s inputs into the XInput format that Windows can register as an Xbox 360 controller. It’s surprisingly simple to set up and run, but be warned, as this is an ongoing fan project you should be prepared for bugs or instability.
Step One: Install the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller Driver for Windows
The program makes Windows think that the DualShock 4 is an Xbox 360 controller, so you’ll have to download the drivers for that controller first. This handy gamepad works well with Windows and has for years, and it’s the simplest one to set up. We’re going to use that. Download the driver from Microsoft’s website and install the software.
Step Two: Download and extract DS4Tool
Now it’s time to download the tool itself. Extract the contents to a convenient folder. This isn’t a program that installs; it runs straight out of the folder, so you should keep it somewhere readily available for when you want to connect the controller.
Step Three: Install the Virtual Bus Driver
This is the magic step, the one that fools Windows into thinking the DualShock 4 is an Xbox 360 controller. Open the Virtual Bus Driver folder in the extracted folder and run ScpDriver.exe. Click Install and wait for the program to finish. It should show a message to the effect that the drivers have been successfully installed. Close the program.
Step Four: Connect your DualShock 4
You can hook up your DualShock 4 with a wired USB connection or via Bluetooth. If you want a wired connection, plug a microUSB cable into the DualShock 4 and connect it to your computer. You’ll be ready for step five.
If you want to use Bluetooth, you need to put the DualShock 4 into pairing mode. First, if you have a PlayStation 4 and your controller is connected to it, turn off both the game console and controller. Then hold down the Share button and press the PlayStation button until the light bar flashes. Release the buttons and add the DualShock 4 to Windows like any Bluetooth device via the Add Device menu. It should show up as wireless controller.
Step Five: Run DS4Tool
Everything is set up, so now all you have to do is run the tool itself. In the main folder, run ScpServer.exe. If everything is working correctly, it should detect the DualShock 4 as Controller 1 and give you details about the connection. The program is incredibly handy, since it monitors the controller and lets you change certain settings. You can keep an eye on the battery life if you’re using a Bluetooth connection, and you can even change the colour of the light bar, or turn it off entirely (an option the PlayStation 4 doesn’t offer, sadly, for those with highly reflective TV screens).
Explore the DS4Tool software to figure out the best way to use it. You can enable the touchpad by holding the L2 and R2 buttons and pressing the touchpad. This lets you control the on-screen cursor (in this case, the mouse pointer) with the pad. Again, this is something you can’t do with the PlayStation 4. When the touchpad is enabled, L1 left clicks and L2 right clicks, and you can disable the touchpad by holding L1 and clicking the pad.
But what if I use a Mac?
There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that connecting a DualShock 4 to your Mac is much, much simpler than connecting it to your PC. The bad news is that compatibility is much, much more limited, and you’ll likely find yourself tweaking controls and trying to get it to work more than you would with a PC that thinks it’s an Xbox 360 controller. Simply plug the controller into a USB port and your Mac will detect it as a gamepad.
If you want to use Bluetooth, hold down the Share button and press the PlayStation button on the gamepad until the light bar flashes, then pair it in your Mac’s Bluetooth menu.
Be aware that the Bluetooth connection‘s compatibility and reliability is lower than the USB connection method. After that, experiment to see which games work with the gamepad and what settings you need to tweak. A good starting point is to enter Steam’s Big Picture mode, select the Settings icon on the top right, and select the Controller button to play with how it works.
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