It is already very common to use an Xbox One or PS4 controller while playing on PC, whether its because some games are just better with a controller or you never learned to use keyboard & mouse. But one controller you don’t see many people use on PC is the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Perhaps most aren’t aware it can be used, or maybe Nintendo Switch owners who use the Pro Controller aren’t big PC gamers. Whatever the reason, it isn’t because it can’t be done.
Whether you’re wanting to use the Pro Controller on Steam or a game from another launcher (such as Fortnite) it can still be done, and this guide will show you how to do it.
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Switch Controller On Steam
Steam has long supported using controllers from consoles, and since 2018, that also includes the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, making this a really simple and quick process to do.
First off, connect your controller and go into the Settings and then click Controller, then General Controller Settings.
As you can see, Switch Pro is an option to tick. Tick this box and the controller will start working. It is worth noting that if you want to use the controller on another launcher such as Epic, Origin, Uplay, etc, you need to turn this off before doing so if Steam is still running.
Steam detected my Pro Controller as an Xbox One Controller, but it still worked fine, and I was able to navigate the menu using the controller.
Unfortunately, using the Switch Pro Controller on non-Steam games is slightly more tricky to do, but nothing too difficult. There is a method to use the controller wirelessly using a Bluetooth adapter, but that will cost you around $20. The controller comes with a USB cable, and your PC will have a USB port, so why not take advantage of it?
Plug your controller into your PC using the USB cable and your PC should detect it as a Pro Controller within a few seconds. There are a few potential programs you can use, but I would recommend x360ce, as it is free. There is another great program called reWASD, but that costs $5 to purchase. It is worth it, but I know not everyone wants to buy extra software.
Normally, an Xbox One controller works with any launcher due to it being a Microsoft product and it being universally compatible with Windows. But since this isn’t a Microsoft product, its classed as a Direct Controller and requires a slight workaround.
Firstly, download x360ce here. You can download both the 32bit and 64 versions, it is worth downloading both as some games may be 32 bit, especially older games.
Once you open the software and connect your Pro Controller, it should detect it and ask you whether you want to search the settings. Go through this process and it should set it up. It is also worth noting that not all games support an Xbox 360 controller (which this program makes the game think it is) so there’s not a 100% compatibility rate with this, which does make something like reWASD worth using, even if it isn’t freeware.
Once it’s all set up, click Auto to automatically map the buttons. Mine mapped them correctly (except that it thought the right trigger was also the left one, so I had to remap that). Apart from that, it worked correctly. Once done, just click Save. You will have to do this for every new game. Just get in the habit of opening the software before playing a game so you can double-check it has been mapped correctly. You could also change the mapping for each specific game too.
If the game you want to play isn’t supported by x360ce then you will have to follow the guide below for other software, I recommend reWASD, although I’m sure there are other alternatives out there as well.
If your chosen game isn’t supported by x360ce then I recommend reWASD. Unfortunately, it is a paid piece of software, but it is very cheap at only 5 euros and has a lot of features including Macros. Please be aware that in most online games, macros can be considered cheating. This program works for all sorts of controllers such as Xbox One, DualShock 4, Switch Pro Controller and even Joy-Cons. You can get a free 14-day trial to see if you like it before purchasing it. One feature I also like is the ability to download other players’ configurations and layouts to use in-game. These could be handy for online games such as Fortnite if you want to improve the layout of the controls to optimize your gameplay.
Once you install the software, just connect your Pro Controller and select it. You will then be able to map the buttons if needed. It just mapped mine automatically to match an Xbox One Controller, and since the layout is the same, there’s no adjustment needed. Just be aware the ABXY buttons are labelled differently on the Switch. The A is the B button on Xbox, so be aware that when playing a game and it asks you to press B, it means A when using a Switch controller. But if you are used to the Xbox button layout and lettering then you’ll be able to press them without even thinking about it.
If you decide you like the software, you can buy it for 5 euros, about £4.17/$5.50. You can also buy other features as well such as Advanced Mapping, which allows you to set dead zone and custom stick response, and Combo, which essentially allows you to create Macros and assign them to buttons. These could be good for the paddles on Elite controllers. 4 Slots, which allows you to create 4 different mapping configurations for a single game and switch (no pun intended) between them. And finally, there’s Rapid Fire, which is a Turbo fire mode. You can purchase each of these for 7 Euros each or all 4 plus the license for the software for 14.99 Euros, about £12.50/$16.70.
That completes our guide on how to use your Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on PC. Whether you’re using Steam or any other launcher, you can use the controller no problem. It would also work with emulators too using the X360CE software. I personally find the Switch controller to be more comfortable than both the Xbox One and PS4 controller, so being able to use it on PC is fantastic for me.