Turning your computer into a gaming console, can you really do it?

A few days ago, I wrote an article explaining your how to turn your computer into a real gaming console. I was proud and bragging. I thought I found a nice workaround for people like me. People playing “console” games on a Windows computer, with a Sony controller. Weird people…

I was wrong

My workaround works… but only for some games. I was so happy when I found this little trick, that I wrote an article as soon as possible in order to share my idea. However, a few hours later, the hard truth hit me, once again.

I Was Wrong

What I did

In my “perfect” setup, I was running DS4 Windows + Steam (with PS4 support disabled) in Shell mode. It worked for a few games I selected : GTA 5 (Standalone), Kopanito (Steam), Assassin’s Creed (Uplay). I selected those games, because they were all coming from a different “platform”. I added all of them to Steam library thanks to the official features “Add a non Steam game to library…”.

Even Steam games, won’t work with PS4 controller

Then, I wanted to play “Broforce” from Steam… and it didn’t work. As soon, I was starting a game, it popped  players at the same time! Yeah.. I was (trying) to controll 2 players with only 1 gamepad. Why is that? Just because Steam sees 2 controllers : the one from DS4Windows and a second one as simple “XInput controller”… The only way to fix this was to kill DS4Windows and run Broforce with the PS4 support enabled in Steam.

Then, I started to wonder if there was other issues. And, there was. Helldivers, for example didn’t recognize the PS4 left stick. The one supposed to move your character. Better yet, it wasn’t working with the official Steam PS4 support enabled, while it was working with DS4Windows…

And it continues like this with the PS4 controller…

Different games, different issues, but in the end it was far from working 100%. And it was even further away from being a smooth console ilike experience. This is why I decided to do something I thought I’ll never do. I bought a Xbox One controller and THE proprietary dongle. Being a big fan of open source, I never thought I’d do that… Let alone, deciding to use Windows on my gaming rig was an hard enough decision.. now I am even going deeper in the closed software / hardware world. I really don’t like it.

The closer you are the better

So far, I havn’t played it much, and I’ll probably update this post in a few days / weeks. However, I have to admit that since I am using the Xbox One (and its propriatery dongle), all my previous tests worked like a charm!

I am really sad to find out that closed software and hardware works way better than open software and classic Bluetooth controllers… I am also really tempted to see here a vile way from Microsoft to “nerf” other hardware than its own. I am not yet resigned, but so fra it looks like that if you want a real console like experience with your regular computer, then you’ll have to turn to proprietary software (Windows Steam libray contains ton more of item, than the open Steam OS’s one) and proprietary hardware (the Xbox One controller beats the PS4 one, hands down!)… just like a (proprietary) console.

On a side note, I also feel that the official Steam support for PS4 controllers, made it worse for some games, while it added some kind of useless support inside the Steam interface with nice graphics in the Steam GUI (but not in the majority of the games, since this is related to developpers of each game).