Reusing Your Game Controllers for PC: Three Options Compared

2 months ago Jack 0
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The likes of us cannot afford to duplicate our efforts on expensive entertainment accessories. Video game controllers have become huge expenses for gamers. If you are gaming on PC, the best option may be unclear to you. Here’s some help with that decision.

Option 1: The XBOX One Controller (new version)


I purchased the latest revision of this controller. It uses Bluetooth to connect wireless-ly to an XBOX One, One X, or PC or connects through USB. Ease of use with a PC will draw your attention to this one. For most games, you’ll just plug it in and it will work. If you have some of these around because you already own an XBOX One, you’re done. In my opinion, your time is better spent playing the games than worrying about what controller to use. These are comfortable, easy, and work well. I use it regularly to play fighting games and found a level of responsiveness more than adequate for my skill level (average to high).

On the other hand, this controller does not include a battery. You either have to use AA batteries, or buy the XBOX One play and charge kit. That adds to the expense and puts this controller at or near the top of the price category.

Pros: Easy to use on PC, comfortable. Cons: Excludes battery.

Option 2: Sony Playstation Dualshock 4 (new version)

The Dualshock 4 gained wide favoritism among fighting game players, but can be used for all kinds of games. Aside from being a solid controller with built-in battery, many users praise the response of the buttons and the layout of the controller. You get a more classic feel than the XBOX One layout; for better or worse. This controller is usable on PC and PS4 through USB and Bluetooth. I have heard that it can also be used with the PS3, though I have not tried that. Being compatible with all 3 systems would make this the most universally usable, and therefor economical, controller choice.

It would, if there weren’t noteworthy compatibility issues. Steam detected this controller right away on PC for me; and that ruined my day. Steam switched interfaces to something that resembled “Big Picture Mode”. I didn’t ask for that and didn’t like it. On top of that, the controller kept registering strange directional inputs at times. I haven’t found a way to make this controller perform consistently well on PC like the XBOX One controller does. Even if I find a way, the controller already lost points for ease of use.

Pros: Built-in battery, classic layout, wide compatibility. Cons: Weird intermittent issues on PC.

Option 3: Sony Playstation Dualshock 3


This is the oldest controller on the list, the biggest headache to set up on PC, and probably the least useful for gamers in the current generation. On the other hand, it’s probably the cheapest and gives a near identical feel to the controllers of the PS1 and PS2. It is, by far, my favorite controller layout for RPGs, MMORPGs, and fighting games. If you can score one of these cheap, or have one laying around collecting dust with your Blu-ray pla…. I mean… PS3, then you have a usable PC controller.

The downside of using it on PC is that you have to find drivers and go through the headaches of setting it up and pairing it with the PC. There are some free utilities design to connect the PS3 controller to your PC, but they are a lot less intuitive and easy to set up than the process to connect a Dualshock 4 or XBOX One controller to a PC. If spending an hour tinkering with confusing software is worth saving money to you (it is to me), then this can be an awesome choice. One available software kit is called “SCP Driver Package”. Disclaimer, I don’t know who made that software or if they made it ethically. Use at your own risk.

Pros: Pretty cheap now, classic layout. Cons: Pain to use on PC, not sure if drivers are legit, may fail sooner due to age.

So Why Do I Have All Three?

I like to play some PC party games with family. Ultimate Chicken Horse, Hidden in Plain Sight, and Starwahl are super entertaining with a crowd of people around. I had two PS3 controllers and my younger brother bought a third.I first picked up the XBOX One controller to fill in the fourth spot. The Dualshock 4 only came in to the picture because one of the Dualshock 3’s started acting up and I thought it would make a good review or article.

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