So, you have a Switch and a PlayStation 4 on your home. You want to play with the latter but can´t find your old Dualshock. You look at the Pro Controller near the Switch and wonder, will it work?
Or maybe you have brought a brand new gaming laptop and don´t want to spend more money on another gamepad. Why would you do that if you already have a perfectly functional Pro Controller? What if you are playing with your pals and need an extra controller? Your Switch has two extras, surely you can use them...
Either way, the question remains: can you use your Switch´s controllers on other consoles or even your PC? Are they compatible? Well, the answer depends on each particular case.
Are the Pro Controller and Joy-Con compatible with PC?
How can I use them?
It’s quite easy to connect your Pro Controller to your PC. With your Bluetooth on, press and hold the sync button on your gamepad until the light turns on. Go to your computer, open the Settings menu and search for “Bluetooth & Other Devices”. Select “Add Bluetooth or other Device” and your PC will display a list with all the nearby devices that it can detect. Select your Pro Controller and it will connect automatically.
If your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth, you can buy an adapter on Amazon (like this one), or you can connect it directly with a USB-C to USB-A cable. Once plugged in, all you need to do is wait for your computer to recognize the controller.
Configuring the gamepad is also easy. Steam has built-in support for the Pro Controller. To make the gamepad work, open the General Controller Settings from the Controller´s tab. There, tick the box to enable Pro Controller support and that´s it, you can enjoy playing on Steam with your Pro Controller. All the games on your library are compatible by default. You can also tweak button configurations and other settings on that menu.
If you don´t want to play on Steam, it´s a bit trickier to configure your Pro Controller. Some games will not recognize it. For these titles, you will need to download programs like WiinUPro or x360ce. The problem is that the Pro Controller has DirectInput commands. Some games aren´t compatible with DirectInput, so these programs trick them by transforming your DirectInput commands into XInput, the language used by the Xbox Controller.
As for the Joy-Cons, you can´t use a USB-C to USB-A cable, so Bluetooth is your only option. Again, if your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth, you will need to go to Amazon and buy the following adapter:
The process to connect the Joy-con is the same as with the Pro Controller. With your Bluetooth on, press and hold the sync button on your Joy-Con until the light turns on. Go to your computer, select “Add Bluetooth or other Device” from the Settings and your PC should list all the nearby devices it can detect. Select your controller and it should connect.
The Joy-Cons don´t have Steam support like the Pro Controller has. Like its cousin, it uses DirectInput. This means that some games will work while others will not. Each Joy-Con will be synced as a different controller, but you can finagle with different programs and settings to let your PC recognize them both as one. To do so, follow this guide on pcgamesn.com.
This all sounds like a big hassle just to connect a single controller, and it is, but there are easier alternatives available so long as you are willing to pay some extra cash to use them. Rewasd, for example, is a gamepad mapper that will take care of the controller configuration without having to do much of the above setup. It will even let you pair a couple of Joy-Con together. A special adapter like the Mayflash Magic Ns will also do most of the work for you (click here to go to its Amazon page).
Are the Pro Controller and Joy-Con compatible with the PS4?
Yes, but with a third-party adapter.
How can I use them?
Normally, there is no way to play with a Pro Controller or Joy-Con on the PlayStation 4. They are simply not compatible by default. However, you can bypass this problem by buying a third-party adapter like the Mayflash Magic S. Click on the previous link or the following image to check it out on Amazon:
To make it work, plug the adapter into your PS4. To play wirelessly, press the button on the side of the adapter and then hold the sync button on your controller. The adapter will detect your controller and you will be able to play with it on your PlayStation. Alternatively, you can plug your controller directly onto the adapter to play it wired.
This little gadget also works with the Xbox controller and even the Wii U Pro. Its main drawback is that it only works with one controller, so it´s not a good choice for multiplayer.
Buying a whole new accessory just to use something that you already own can be painful, but, this adapter is cheaper than a brand new DualShock. It is a good purchase to avoid having to buy extra controllers.
Are the Pro Controller and Joy-Con compatible with the Xbox One?
No, they are not.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to play with your Pro Controller or Joy-Con on the Xbox One. While there are a few multi-platform third-party controllers that work with both the Switch and the Xbox (and they are fighting sticks, if you can believe that), Nintendo´s official controllers are completely incompatible.
Can you use the Switch´s Pro Controller and Joy-Con on other current-gen consoles? Are they compatible? For the PC, the answer is yes, all you need is a computer with Bluetooth or a USB-C to USB-A cable. They will work just perfectly, with gyro controls and all.
For the PS4, it´s possible as long as you buy a third-party adapter that connects the controller to the console. Unfortunately, the Xbox One is currently incompatible with Nintendo´s signature controllers.
This all assumes you have a spare switch controller lying around. In the case that you don´t, and you want to learn which one is the best for you, we have an article discussing that topic here. Similarly, if you just want to browse through all the controllers available for the Switch, check out our collection here. If you have any questions about how to make the controllers work on your PC or PS4, don't hesitate to ask in the comments.