Arcade Sushi Quick Tip – The Best Way to Connect Your PS3 Controllers to Your PC
So the next generation of consoles is out, which means it’s about time for your last gen consoles to start collecting dust. Luckily, there will still be some use for those old PlayStation 3 controllers far after we have re-bought the entirety of our PS3 library on Sony’s new PlayStation Now game streaming service.
Connect them to your PC! They are still perfectly good dual analog stick controllers with force feedback and everything. They are also pretty tough. so you could probably use your DualShock 3s on your PC gaming rig of choice, clear through the PS4’s lifetime.
Early adopters of the PS3 remember what a hassle it was to connect a DualShock 3 to a PC. They didn’t come with any native drivers and Sony never released official ones. As a result, you had to do this horrible song and dance that involved downloading unsigned drivers, restarting your PC in a different mode, using the drivers temporarily and then restarting your PC again to get it working correctly. It was a maelstrom of spaghetti programming and sadness.
Then, the DS3 tool, otherwise known as MotionJoy, came out. The DS3 tool allowed you to patch the standard drivers of your PC to handle a PS3 controller connection. For those of us who had at least a tiny bit of programming knowledge, this tool was a godsend. Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t know much about programming or even basic driver setup, it posed a serious threat.
If you patched the wrong driver, suddenly your microphone, mouse or keyboard would stop working, and without a keyboard there weren’t many ways you could fix the problem. Not to mention the DS3 tool would require an always-on internet connection and would feed you ads whenever it was active. Many fans noted that this essentially opened up a backdoor to your computer and if the creators wanted to feed malicious code to you, they could.
Enter the subject of our article, Better DS3. Better DS3 is an offline alternative to the original DS3 tool. It basically does everything that the original MotionJoy program did, just without the always on internet connection.
Here’s what you do to quickly get your DualShock 3 working on your PC. First, download the DS3 tool and put it wherever you like. It’s an extremely lightweight program and doesn’t even need to install. Next, open the program… duh. Then, connect your DualShock 3 controller to your PC. You should see it show up in the “connected DS3 controllers” window of the program.
Now comes the tricky part. You will have to create a profile that determines how your DS3 controller operates. Essentially, Better DS3 allows you to emulate other types of PC controllers and your profile will determine what sort of controller your PlayStation 3 controller is pretending to be. We recommend XInput, the protocol that allows your PlayStation controller to emulate an Xbox 360 controller, for reasons more than just irony. XInput seems to have the most universal compatibility for PC games, especially indie titles. After you select an XInput profile, you can edit the profile to swap around buttons as you like. We suggest simply clicking the auto map button and calling it a day, though hardcore shooter fans have recommended swapping around the shoulder buttons, face buttons, and triggers.
Believe it or not, that’s it; that’s all you need to do to connect a DualShock 3 to your PC. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Let’s say you want to use your controller wirelessly. Provided that your PC is Bluetooth-compatible, this is a cinch. Just click the Bluetooth pairing button and disconnect the USB cable. Now your controller is ready to go full wireless.
Even better, the DS3 tool can mimic things other than a controller. You can set profiles that allow you to map your controller buttons to keyboard and mouse inputs. On one hand, this is phenomenal for indie games that only support keyboard inputs, like flash games or low budget titles. On another, very lazy hand, this allows you to use your controller as a long distance input device. Ever wanted to marathon Mad Men from Netflix but were too lazy to get up from your bed to open Netflix in a browser? Now you don’t have to!
So that’s it; a quick, safe and easy way to connect your PS3 controllers to your PC. Luckily, the DualShock 4 comes with its own drivers so you don’t have to jump through hoops to get it to work, but you’ll likely be using those for your PS4, so put those PS3 controllers to work.