Sony has finally updated the default controller for its line of consoles. Gone are the Dualshock gamepads of the Playstations 1 thought 4 to make way for the brand new Dualsense on the Playstation 5.
The Dualshock was quite the versatile gamepad, capable of being used in almost every other gaming platform on the market, so how does the Dualsense fare? In what other consoles can you play with it?
Can you use the DualSense controller on a PC?
Yes, you can use the DualSense to play games on your PC, much like you could with the old Dualshock. You can connect it by plugging in the USB C-to-A cable that came included with the gamepad or by using Bluetooth.
Just because your computer can detect your controller, however, doesn´t mean games will run with it just like that. There is an issue in that each game needs to have the controller´s driver to recognize your inputs.
Luckily, Steam has gone ahead and added Dualsense support to their platform, meaning that you can play any games on Steam with the next-gen gamepad and have almost no issues.
For now, the main downside of Steam play is that it hasn´t yet ported all the features of the Dualsense, but most of them are there. The touch screen, light, and gyroscope (motion controls) are working; the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are not.
This isn´t much of an issue as most games don't take advantage of these features yet, but you can still expect that Valve will patch them in sometime in the future.
But what about non-steam games? Can you play with those? Well, the answer is technically no, but there is a workaround. If you open Steam and add the game executable as a "Non-Steam game" you can launch it on Valve´s platform and enjoy their built-in Dualsense driver on titles that aren´t published on their storefront and even in some emulators.
Can I use the DualSense controller with my Playstation 4?
No, you can´t. At least not directly. For now, the PS4 is not compatible with the Dualsense (unlike the PS5 which does have some degree of backward compatibility with the Dualshock 4). If you connect the new controller to the old console, it will get recharged, nothing more.
However, the Dualsense is compatible with computers, as we just explained, and you can take advantage of that to use it to play your PS4 games. How?
Enter Remote Play, an app that lets you stream PS4 games to smartphones and computers. The workaround is simple. You use Remote Play to stream the Playstation 4 game you want to play on your computer, and then use the DualSense controller to control it. Sadly, for reasons we´ll soon see, you can´t do that on iOS devices just yet.
It´s quite the detour, and honestly not very worth it, but the option is there if you want it (or more likely, if you lost your Dualshock).
Can I use the DualSense controller with my iPhone and Android phones?
Yes, you can connect your Dualsense to both an Android and an iPhone by using Bluetooth. We already made an infographic explaining how to do this with the last generation of controllers and the process hasn´t changed, so check it out if you are interested.
There is only one difference in the procedure compared to how you connected the Dualshock. To make the Dualsense enter its Bluetooth pairing mode, you have to hold the Playstation and the Create buttons until the lights in the middle of the gamepad start blinking.
There is a small caveat when it comes to connecting the controller to an iPhone. While you can pair up the Dualsense with Apple´s phone, there is no full compatibility yet. You won´t be able to play some games, and you will not be able to use the gamepad with the PS4 Remote Play app.
Apple will probably add full compatibility in the future, but for now, it is something to keep in mind. Android phones don´t have this problem, and you can use Sony´s new gamepad to your heart's content when you pair up with them as long as the game is compatible with Bluetooth gamepads.
EDIT: As of the 14.5. update for iOS you can now use the Dualsense controller fully with the Remote Play app, so now there are no obstacles to using your controller on a phone.
Can I use the DualSense controller with my Nintendo Switch?
You can´t use the Dualsense to play on your Switch as is, you need a third-party accessory. While Nintendo´s console does have Bluetooth, it will not be able to recognize and connect to Sony´s gamepad on its own.
If you are willing to pay a bit, however, there is an alternative. This 8bitdo adapter will let your Switch detect and connect to a PS5 controller. Once it´s plugged in, the console will recognize your gamepad and you´ll be able to play games with it.
And that´s it! You can use the Dualsense to play on pretty much every other game platform of this generation but the Xbox. Unfortunately, Microsoft´s console still doesn´t recognize Sony´s controller, but there will probably be an adapter in the future to work around this limitation. There is also no way to use it to play on the Playstation 4.
For now, you can use the Dualsense to play on your computer, phone, and Switch, just be sure to treat it´s triggers gently, lest they break. If you want to look for some accessories for this new controller and the Playstation 5, check out our page here!
And if you are worried about if your headset will still work on the PS5, check out our page here to see which headphones are compatible with the console.