Over the last few years, there has been a shift in PC games towards native controller support for both Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation controllers. However, numerous older PC games, as well as a number of these newer titles, do not have support for either PlayStation 4 or 5 controllers. Fortunately, there is a tool that gamers can use to add this support themselves.
Controller Emulation for Full Compatibility
DS4Windows is an open-source input mapper and virtual emulator designed to add PlayStation controller support to both Windows 10 and 11. It works by remapping your PS4 or PS5 controller to an Xbox configuration, making your PC believe that an Xbox controller is plugged in instead, working out of the box for games that have native Xbox controller support.
If you are playing a game that does not have controller support, the software can be configured as a direct keyboard re-mapper, allowing you to use your PS4 and PS5 controllers for each and every PC game in your library. If you are using Steam as your primary game library, we have previously covered how to use console controllers in Steam's Big Picture mode.
To get started, download DS4Windows and extract the .zip file to your desktop for easy access.
Within the extracted folder, run the DS4Windows.exe application to open the software. If you are running the software for the first time, you can select if you want the application data to be saved into your user’s AppData folder or the Program folder the application is in if you prefer a portable installation.
Follow the instructions in the new window to ensure you set the application up correctly. Start by using the Install ViGEmBus Driver as this is required for the application to work correctly.
Following this driver being installed, you may need to install the 360 Driver if you are using Windows 7. It is now time to plug your PS4 or PS5 controller into your PC, either via your micro-USB/USB-C cable, or Bluetooth if your PC has Bluetooth support.
The next step is optional but highly recommended and that is to Install HidHide Driver. This will allow your system to hide the PS4 or PS5 controller from other apps running on your system to ensure that you don’t result in having double input (from both the physical and emulated controller).
The final, optional step is to Install FakerInput Driver which can be necessary for certain games that feature anti-cheat protection. This driver exposes the virtual keyboard, relative and absolute mouse to the application for keyboard and mouse mapping on the controller directly.
Profile Configuration in DS4Windows
Once you have installed all the necessary and optional drivers, select the Finished button to open the main application window. In the bottom right, click the Start button and your connected PS4 or PS5 controller should now show as an input device. If the Selected Profile option shows Default in the dropdown, you have set everything up correctly and your controller will now be emulated as an Xbox controller.
From here, you have everything set up to use your PS4 or PS5 controller with games that support Xbox controller input.
Under the Profiles tab, you can create a new profile that emulates keyboard and mouse input for those games that do not have any controller support at all, such as first-person shooters, meaning the scope of the tool is limitless. Moreover, DS4Windows supports a wide range of controller types, including both Nintendo Switch Joy-Con and Pro Controllers.
If you find that your PC is struggling to recognize your controller, consider upgrading to one of the best PC controllers.
Enjoy Your Older PC Games With Your PlayStation Controller
DS4Windows allows you to utilize the console controller of your choice on your PC setup regardless of the age or genre of the game you want to play.
There are a range of tools that can widen this scope even further, allowing you to use virtually any device as a gamepad on your PC to really test the limits of what is possible.