How to Use a PS4 Controller on Steam

Senior Editor
Updated

Your PS4 controller is now also an excellent PC gamepad.

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Steam has rolled out official support for Sony's DualShock 4, which works instantly with most games on the platform and features the same insane amount of custom configuration options found on Valve's own Steam Controller. It's a great companion for surviving that Dark Souls 3 run or wading through the trove of cool indies you may have picked up during the Steam Summer Sale.

To get your DualShock 4 set up on Steam, launch the Steam client and click the controller icon at the top right to enter Big Picture Mode, which is Steam's console-like, controller-friendly interface. From there, go to Settings > Controller Settings and make sure "PS4 Configuration Support" is toggled on.

After that, simply plug your PS4 controller in via a microUSB cable or Sony's DualShock wireless dongle. You'll be prompted with a small window for personalizing your controller, which lets you assign a name to your DualShock 4, toggle the rumble feature and set the color, brightness and saturation of the gamepad's top-facing lightbar.

Your DualShock 4 will now be registered to work on Steam, but that's just the beginning of the fun. If you head to Settings > Base Configurations, you can create button schemes for navigating Steam in both Desktop and Big Picture mode, as well as dictate what happens when you hold down the home button in-game. You can also create game-specific control schemes by simply launching a game, pressing the PlayStation button and selecting Controller Settings.

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The amount of ways you can customize your DualShock 4 on Steam is staggering, and reminds me a lot of the fine-tuning options that Valve offers for its own, less-conventional Steam Controller. In addition to remapping every button and adjusting the sensitivity of the thumbsticks, you can also take advantage of the controller's unique touchpad and gyroscope in a myriad of ways.

Want the DualShock 4's touchpad to behave like a mouse? Go for it. How about controlling the in-game camera by simply moving the controller? You can make that happen. If you like tweaking every possible parameter when setting up your controls for games, Steam's DualShock 4 features could keep you busy for hours.

After a small bit of setup, I found using my DualShock 4 on Steam to be just as intuitive as using it with my PS4. Sony's controller is now even more appealing as a PC gamepad, and if you already have one lying around, you can experience a lot of the Steam Controller's unique customization options without shelling out for another peripheral.