Steam hasn't officially supported Sony's DualShock controllers for years. Most developers instead focused on support for Microsoft's Xbox controller and, more recently, the Steam controller. But the latest client update has finally brought native support for the DualShock 4 to Steam.
Valve's Jeff Bellinghausen said during a talk at Steam Dev Days earlier this year that support for additional controllers was on the horizon.
The DualShock 4 was the first controller to receive this support because of its gyroscope and touchpad, which are similar to those used in the Steam Controller, so it could work with the Steam Controller API. Bellinghausen also said that trying to use a DualShock 4 on PC was a horrible experience.
“Existing native support was just terrible. It just sucked and it was awful,” he said. “I’ve tried to use a PS4 controller on PC, and it’s just not great at the moment. Other devices work pretty good on PC already. This fills a hole, this meets that demand.” DualShock 4 controller support was available in the Steam client, albeit in beta form, at the end of October. This week’s client update represents the update growing up and leaving the beta stage.
Here's how it works: When using Steam Big Picture, you can use the Steam Configurator with the controller to map out commands for its buttons and triggers. You can also customize its gyroscope and touchpad functions to suit your needs. You don't have to install other software to make your PC think the DualShock 4 is an Xbox controller or trick it into converting the inputs into key presses. All you have to do is head into Steam's built-in settings.
DualShock 4 isn't the only thing included in this update. Steam added “higher bandwidth options” to enable in-home streaming of games in 4K. If you’re using the Oculus Touch with SteamVR, then its navigations functions are improved as well. There’s also a new controller mode called “Joystick Mouse,” which Valve said works best with stick-based controllers, and a new feature that lets you change the brightness and color of the LEDs on your controller. (This was presumably added because of the DualShock 4.) Check out the rest of the release notes to learn all the details about this client update.