Steam's Getting Support for the DualSense and the New Xbox Wireless Controller

Steam's Getting Support for the DualSense and the New Xbox Wireless Controller

There's beta support out right now, but some features are absent on the Sony side.

If you've got a souped-up PC at home, maybe you're not all that excited by the prospect of the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony. On the other hand, if you've got a PC hooked up to your TV, maybe you're eyeing the new DualSense and Xbox Wireless Controllers for those times you want to put the keyboard and mouse aside. The good news is that Valve's giving Steam official support for both controllers.

Right now, in fact, if you opt into the beta branch of Steam's client you can take both new controllers for a spin. If you're eager to make the switch to the new Xbox or PS5 controller on PC, just don't expect them to work without hiccups until the support is rolled over to Steam's public client build.

For starters, Steam's DualSense support is barebones at the moment and doesn't factor in any of its unique features. The trackpad and gyro sensor won't work and there's no support for rumble whatsoever—in time, it'll be interesting to see if Valve can get the DualSense's more advanced haptics and adaptive triggers working on PC, but it seems unlikely we'd see many games adding that level of support even if (like, say, Arkane's Deathloop) they will be coming out on both PS5 and PC.

The new controller shipping with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is a lot closer to its predecessor, but it's still not as straightforward a leap onto Steam as you might think. Apparently, prior to today's beta branch update, Steam would recognize it as two separate controllers. It's possible that the error had something to do with the Bluetooth Low Energy standard the controllers embrace, or that it was perhaps related to the controller-side changes made for the new Xbox Dynamic Latency solution. I would be interested to see if the Windows native support for the new Xbox controllers differs in any way from how they work when running with Steam, but I would guess it'd be hard to tell them apart by feel alone.

One other thing to keep in mind if you're looking at grabbing a DualSense or new Xbox controller for your PC is that both Sony and Microsoft have switched their charging ports over to USB Type-C. As I was writing this up, I realized that I've already got two of those cables hanging out of my PC for my Valve Index controllers as it stands. For the sake of convenience, maybe I'll be retiring my PC's Xbox One controller sooner rather than later.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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