PS4 Controllers Will Work with Windows — Does It Matter?

Sony recently confirmed that the controller for its upcoming PlayStation 4 console will be compatible with Microsoft Windows. While it's always good to have another choice in the hunt for a quality PC peripheral, the PS4 controller will hardly shake the foundations of the PC gaming world.

Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, confirmed the news via Twitter. When a fan inquired whether the PS4's DualShock 4 controller would function on a Windows PC, Yoshida replied, "For basic functions, yes."

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Fans on Twitter asked for clarification, since technically, the PS3's DualShock 3 controller also works on a PC if you install a number of workarounds and fool the computer into recognizing it as a Windows device. "Wait for field report after the launch," Yoshida wrote, and left it at that.

The information is interesting, especially considering that Microsoft's own Xbox One controller will not function with PCs until a patch comes in 2014. Considering Sony has never been a major player in the PC gaming market, it's somewhat surprising that a Sony controller will work with a PC at all.

Still, the question remains as to whether a PS4 controller for Windows will have any profound impact on either PC or PS4 gaming. If the DualShock 4 resembles the DualShock, DualShock 2 and DualShock 3 in feel and responsiveness, it will be a good controller. At present, though, the PC is spoiled for choice when it comes to good controllers.

There are hundreds of controllers for computers, ranging from joysticks to flight simulators to racing wheels. Many controllers resemble traditional console peripherals, and are perfect for third-person action games, retro platformers or first-person-shooter fans who were weaned on console hits like "Halo" and "Call of Duty" rather than on the mouse-and-keyboard-centric "Doom" and "Half-Life."

Not to put too fine a point on it, but many PC controllers are basically PlayStation controllers in everything but name.

Tom's Guide has had a chance to go hands-on with the PS4 controller at various industry events, and it's a quality device. The ridges along the analog sticks make it very easy to maintain a firm grip, and the device rests comfortably in a player's hands. Its only unusual feature is its central touchpad.

MORE:PS4 vs. Xbox One: Console Comparison

The touchpad in the center of the DualShock 4 controller allows players to control on-screen action. This is good news for indie developers who are used to making mobile games with touch screens in mind. The touchpad, however, does not seem like a "basic" feature, meaning that it may not be accessible on the PC when the PS4 first launches. No traditional PC controllers on the market right now have touchpads.

PC gamers in the market for a good controller may also want to hold off until Valve releases more information about its highly anticipated Steam controller in conjunction with its upcoming SteamOS operating system. The Steam controller, with its two haptic pads instead of analog sticks, is definitely an oddity. Being able to control action, strategy and simulation games with equal acuity sounds like it might be worth waiting for, though.

Once the PS4 launches in November, gamers will have a better idea of how well its controller works with Windows, and whether Sony has any plans to pursue the matter further. Until then, there are plenty of PC controllers from which to choose — not to mention the good old mouse-and-keyboard combination.

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • ben850
    It's a nice option.
  • joaompp
    In currently using a Logitech F350 because it was the closest controller to a PlayStation's, depending on valve's new controller I might pick one up just for my PC.
  • Cool always glad to see more options for controllers for PC
  • Akizu
    Who cares about basic functionality? Even if Sony wouldn't release a driver for Dualshock4 someone else would make some basic one just to get sticks and buttons working... It just needs a simple generic driver maybe with some adjustments... Nothing fancy about it.

    If they were to release a driver that would support accelerometer, force feedback and maybe touch panel too that would be awesome but I doubt it will happen.
  • paradigital
    Weaned on console hits like Call of Duty? The PC was playing Call of Duty, Call of Duty: United Offensive, and Call of Duty 2 before most of today's generation of "gamers" were out of diapers.

  • soldier44
    Doesn't to me. But cool that they do for those that care about or use them for games.
  • husker
    I can read this article on a tablet or Windows PC. Does that matter?
  • Ryan Klug
    Good to have some AAA controllers for the PC. It would be good to see Tom's review PC controllers. They can start with the ridiculously short range of the "wireless" Logitech F710. I get about 2-3 feet. Plus its goofy analog sticks aren't worth diddly in Dirt 3, among other games.
  • bustapr
    i currently use my ps3 controller with DS3 tool to emulate an xbox 360 controller to play my games(well, the ones best played with controllers). was never really interested in another controller since the ps3 controller worked fine. if it ever breaks after ps4 is out, Ill probably just get another ps3 controller since I still use my ps3 alot as a media center. so, it doesnt really matter for me right now.

    but it IS a nice option to have. Ive heard of pc controllers being anywhere from great to total ass at any price.
  • atikkur
    I only want DS4 for its touchpad. But since steam has controller, an owlpad, then i decided to wait for the official launch of owlpad, then get for it. I excited more for the owlpad.