How to use a PS3 Controller on PC
I always wondered how to use a PS3 controller on PC in order to play certain games more easily, but I had quite a hard time trying to figure out the correct method. If you want to use a Xbox 360/ONE controller that might be way easier for you, mostly because this console is a Microsoft product, thus already compatible with your operating system.
But what happens if you only have a Playstation 3 and no other controllers at your disposal?
A long time ago I found a useful tool called Motion Joy, which allowed you to attach your PS3 controller using its standard USB cable, run a quick setup/test and then you were ready to play any supported PC game with it.
Sadly, when I recently tried to use MJ again, I discovered that it simply stopped working all of a sudden. Unlike any other installed program Joy required your internet connection in order to work, thus I believed it could simply be a momentary net issue. It never came back to life in my case.
Now, before activating your Berserk mode and opening your wallet to purchase a Xbox controller take a deep breath and keep reading.
There actually is another way to use a PS3 controller without Motion Joy. It may require a few driver installations, but I tried this myself and the overall process worked with no troubles:
- First of all you need to download the required SCP DS3 Software Bundle.
- Before running any installation you need to plug in your wired controller (or bluetooth receiver), if you don’t have any driver installed your PC will automatically get it for you in order to recognize your attached device.
- Open your downloaded archive and open the Xbox 360 Controller Drivers folder. Select the right subfolder for your operating system (for example Win 7-8 64bit) and load the Xbox360 file contained inside. Wait until the driver finishes the setup process, you might get a message which asks you to restart your computer in order to complete the installation, it’s better if you skip this step for now since you’ll have to run other executable programs.
- Install the NetFramework (dotNetFx40_Full_setup.exe) included in the main archive path.
- Be sure your DirectX is up to date. Click on the dxwebsetup application and follow the program’s instructions (be sure to uncheck Install Bing bar before continuing).
- Run the Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Application (vcredist_x86.exe).
- Open the ScpServer.zip included in the archive and extract its content. You will notice two subfolders in there, you can remove the Source one because you won’t really need it for this.
- Go to Start > Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Program Files. You need to create a folder called Scarlet.Crush Productions and copy the bin one from ScpServer to this new path.
- Right-click on ScpServer.exe and select Run as administrator. A new installation window will open, click the Install button (you can uncheck Bluetooth Driver if you don’t have one) and wait until it’s done. After this you should be able to see your installed device(s) in Control Panel > Hardware and Sounds > Devices and printers section.
I suggest you guys to simply use a wired joystick instead of a bluetooth receiver; it might cause some unwanted conflicts in case you’re using a wireless mouse and/or keyboard. For a more specific explanation about the matter you can check this source video.
“I followed all the instructions correctly, but I’m having issues with the controller not connecting.”
There actually is a solution for that:
- Find the bin folder in Program Files > Scarlet.Crush Productions.
- Right-click on ScpDriver, then select Properties. If you see the text “This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer” next to Security, it means that you have to unlock it. Click on the Unblock button, Apply, OK. Do the same thing with ScpMonitor and ScpServer.
- Run the ScpDriver application as administrator and make a new installation.
“It stays blocked no matter what I do. How do I make it work?”
- Be sure you still have the SCP DS3 Driver Package or download it again from the link posted above and find the ScpServer folder once again.
- If your ScpDriver file is still blocked you have to right-click on the ScpServer folder and select Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.
- Extract everything all over again and you should be able to finally make it work.
If you compress and extract the content a second time your computer will think that those files indeed come from the current machine, for this reason you shouldn’t see the Security message again. You have to run this operation even if you do not see any Unblock button in the first place.
“Will I get malwares with these installations?”
No, I didn’t get any malware following this guide.
“Do I actually need an original controller to play PC games?”
To be completely honest you don’t really need an original controller at all, so the answer is technically no. I also got a generic one for about $7 when I couldn’t use my PS3 controller anymore with Motion Joy and it seems to work quite perfectly with many titles so far. It certainly won’t guarantee you the same quality of a PS3/Xbox controller (the analog sticks are not as smooth in the movement), but trust me if I tell you I’ve been using this for two years and I love it.
No driver installation required here, your PC will simply take a moment to recognize the plugged in device and you can use it right away with your games (assuming they actually support a controller).
Remember to keep the Analog button (aka the fake PS one in the middle) activated while playing.
If you’re interested in this controller you can get it here.
If you want to get an original PS3 controller (in case you don’t own one already and don’t like the generic joystick) you can check this page (you may also need its USB cable/charging cord).
“For some reason my original PS3 controller stopped working. Whenever I connect it I see the four red lights flashing and then nothing, so my computer doesn’t even recognize it although I can still find the PS3 icon in my Control Panel. Is there a way to fix this?”
Yes and it’s quite simple. This happened to me recently and for a moment I thought my controller was dying, then I found a few suggestions online and you can apparently turn on your PlayStation 3, connect your controller to it, keep it there for a bit and then turn everything off. If you try to use it again on your machine it should finally work properly.
Alternatively you can also try to reset it, simply pressing the small button located on its back.