The PlayStation 5 landed in the UK last week (and in the US the week before), bringing with it the shiny new DualSense controller. Steam was quick to implement initial support for it, too. Now, over the weekend, Valve have improved that support, meaning your Steam games will be able to use the DualSense’s fancy LED, trackpad, rumble and gyro features.
Full support for all this is available on the public beta Steam desktop client, and they plan on rolling it out to Steam proper after some more testing. Death Stranding, No Man’s Sky, Horizon: Zero Dawn are mentioned as a few examples of games that fully support the controller, but any games that use the Steam Input API are fully compatible with it, “with no developer updates required,” they say. “It just works.”
I did, however, just do a little test of it all myself, and while Steam recognises the DualSense while in Big Picture Mode, the latency seemed really bad (I tried using both BlueTooth and wired connections). I think part of the problem, at least on my end, is that Windows tried to recognise the controller as an audio device (helpful as ever, Windows) which has somehow made it bug out in Steam. This is an issue I’ve had previously with my PS4 controller, too, which was only fixed by a Windows update at the time. Your results may vary, of course, and it’s still in beta, so take this as a small warning that the PS5 controller might not work perfectly for you just yet.
There’s no word on whether or not Steam will be able to make use of the DualSense’s excellent haptics. The controller’s triggers have adaptive feedback when playing certain PS5 games, and it’s actually brilliant. The most obvious examples are being able to feel the tension as you pull back a bowstring, or feel resistance when trying to crush something. I don’t know how they could make it work for PC, but I sure hope they do. It’s something that I initially thought was a bit of a gimmick, but it’s genuinely very cool.
Valve have also released some statistics on how many people actually use controllers on PC. Over the last two years, they say the number of players using a controller on Steam daily has doubled, with PlayStation controllers making up 21.6% of all “controller sessions”.
The way they talk about it makes it seem like lots of people didn’t know others liked to plug a controller into their PCs. Is this a thing? I’ve always enjoyed using my PS4 controller for more relaxed games like Stardew Valley or Sea Of Thieves. Sure, I wouldn’t use it for a shooter like Rainbow Six Siege that requires precise aiming, but it’s quite nice to have the option to not constantly lean over a keyboard.
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X have launched now, and they’re pretty decent pieces of tech – controllers included. Our hardware queen Katharine had a go at building her very own Xbox Series X PC last week, and it was darn pricey to make.