The Steam Deck is making waves right now since it provides a handheld gaming experience with a massive Steam library. This console can also be connected to a monitor akin to the Nintendo Switch.

Once connected to a monitor, you may then play on your Steam Deck like a regular console. But unlike the Nintendo Switch, there are no Joycons that can be detached and used as a separate controller. So what are your options?

There are lots of available options on Steam PC such as the PlayStation 4 dual shock controllers. The question now is, can you use a PS4 controller on Steam Deck? Will there be problems? What are the other options? Let’s find out.

Can You Use A PS4 Controller On Steam Deck?

Yes, the Steam Deck is a mini computer that supports different controller types including the PS4 controller and the new Dual-Sense controller from the PlayStation 5. However, some of the features of the PS5 controller are not compatible.

There is a little downside to using the PS4 controller though. Some key binds are not precisely what they should be. Since Steam games often follow the Xbox controller layout, it will be a little bit confusing at first.

For example, the press “X” on your game prompt means you need to press the “square” button on your PS4 controller. It might take a while, but you will get used to it.

How To Use a PlayStation Controller On The Steam Deck

You may use a PlayStation controller on the Steam Deck the same way you would on a regular computer.

  1. Head on to the Settings
  2. Click on Bluetooth
  3. Turn your Steam Deck Bluetooth On
  4. Press the PlayStation button and the Share button to activate Bluetooth Pairing mode.
  5. Go back to your Steam Deck and select the controller once it appears on your Bluetooth menu.
  6. Press A and wait for the successful pairing notification.
  7. You may now use your PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 controller on your Steam Deck.

Problems Using A PS4 Controller On The Steam Deck

Despite being controller-friendly, Steam Deck users might still encounter problems when using a non-native controller such as the Dual-Shock 4 or Dual-Sense. One issue mentioned earlier is the key binds, which are different from the actual game prompts.

However, another issue that players encounter is the PlayStation 4 controller not working on the Steam Deck. It would connect successfully but it will not register any inputs.

If you encounter this issue, here’s a quick fix. First, you need to make sure that you are using a stable OS version and not Beta.

Second, you need to rearrange the controller order and set the PS4 controller as the number 1 option. You may do it in the quick access menu.

  1. Press the PlayStation + X button at the same time.
  2. Navigate to “Rearrange controller order”
  3. Set the Dual Shock or Dual Sense controller as the number 1 controller.

You may also do this fix if you want to arrange controllers for multiple players.

What Controllers Are Compatible With The Steam Deck

You may use any Bluetooth or wired game controller on the Steam Deck. You may even use a fighting game joystick as long as it is XInput or DirecInput.

Here is a list of compatible Steam Deck controllers.

  • Steam Controller
  • Xbox 360 Controller
  • Xbox One Controller
  • PlayStation 4 Controller
  • PlayStation 5 Controller
  • Generic XInput Controller
  • DirecInput Gamepads

You may also use a Nintendo Switch Pro controller on the Steam Deck. The 8BitDo and Logitech controller lineup would also work. This includes the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ or the Logitech F301 wired controller.

Do take note that you will need to use adapters on some wired controllers.

How To Connect Controllers On The Steam Deck

Wireless game controllers are easy to connect on the Steam Deck. You just have to go through Steam Deck’s Bluetooth settings, turn it on and wait for the controller to show up. Pair the two devices and you are good to go.

If your game controller does not appear on the Steam Deck’s list of devices, then double-check if it is in pairing mode. Sometimes a Bluetooth device does not appear if it is just o by default.

Can You Use A Mouse and Keyboard On The Steam Deck

The Steam Deck supports different kinds of input including mouse and keyboard. This is great especially if you are not fond of using controllers. However, the best option at the moment is wireless mice and keyboards due to the limited number of ports.

Valve also made a Steam Deck Docking Station but is delayed at the time of this writing. The docking station will work similarly to the Nintendo Switch Dock.

What is the Steam Deck Dock?

The official Valve Steam Deck Dock supports HDMI 2.0 connections to external monitors. It also has a USB-C port to connect to the Deck itself. There will be three USB 3.11 USB-A ports which are perfect for wired controllers, keyboards, and mice. Lastly, a gigabit ethernet port is present for a seamless online connection.

The Steam Deck Docking Station has no official price at the moment. There is no final release date as well. Valve’s latest announcement regarding the official Steam Deck Docking Station mentioned that the COVID-19 closures affected the production time.

The good thing is, that there are alternative Steam Deck Docking Stations available today such as the JSAUX Steam Deck Docking Station. This accessory has two USB-A connections, a USB-C port, an ethernet port, and an HDMI port. It is available for $39.99.

Wrapping Up

The Steam Deck is an interesting handheld console that works as a mini-computer too. You may use it with the PS4 controller and other Bluetooth controllers available in the market – whichever works for you. Just connect it and all you need to do is to have fun playing your favorite titles.

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