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Use PlayStation3 Gamepad with PC Games E-mail
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Written by Akim Green   
Monday, 22 October 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Use PlayStation3 Gamepad with PC Games
Closer Look: DUALSHOCK 3
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Testing & Results

Testing Methodology

Here we will test the reliability of the hardware components: wireless range, battery life, and resistance to interference from other wireless devices. We will then test how the controller performs in a suite of controller-friendly games. These games will also be tested with the Xbox 360 contoller, and any noticeable advantages and differences will be reported.

Before testing, the third-party software DS3 tool from MotioninJoy was installed. The software can be downloaded here, and a comprehensive tutorial on how to set it up can be found here. The entire process should take no more than 15 minutes. After installing the software, the drivers must be loaded, the controller must be paired to the PC (if using bluetooth), and then a profile must be applied. The Xbox 360 profile is recommended since most PC games already support the controller.

DS3 tool makes it possible for users to connect their controller via USB or bluetooth. All the tests in this article were carried out with the controllers wirelessly connected to the system.

NOTE: If you are also using the controller with a PS3 console, you will need to repair the bluetooth by connecting it to the console with a USB cable.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Asus Rampage 4 Extreme
  • System Memory: G.Skill 8GB
  • Processor: Intel i7 3820
  • Audio: Asus Xonar DSX
  • Video: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 570 SLI
  • Disk Drive 1: Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD
  • Disk Drive 2: Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Professional

Test Software

  • DS3 Tool (version 0.60005)
  • Street Fighter X Tekken
  • Crysis 2
  • FIFA 13
  • DiRT 2
  • Borderlands 2


The setup was fairly simple and finished without error. The vibration worked and in the Windows game controller program all key presses registered without lag. To test the controllers before gameplay, I opened the game controller panel, the button highlighted in the third image below. After setting up, the screen should be similar to the one in the bottommost image.



With the Xbox 360 profile selected, all the games recognized the PS3 controller without any problem. In FIFA 13 the controller worked wonderfully. Thanks to the pressure sensitive buttons, only light presses were needed for the corresponding actions. As a result, it felt very natural to quickly string passes together and follow them with sudden strikes at goal. Due to its compact form, it also felt lighter and easier to manage as opposed to the Xbox controller that is quite comfortable to hold, but feels like a burden when rapid button mashing. The story holds true for Street Fighter X Tekken. I found it way easier to pull off complex combos and dodge enemy blows with the PS3 gamepad than the 360's. For all the games tested, the PS3 performed well and, because it has the same number of keys as the 360 gamepad, the default key mappings were spot on. However, for the first person shooters I found myself switching the default aim and fire keys (L2 and R2) with L1 and R1.


Regarding the battery life: I play for around 1 to 2 hours most days and it has been more than 2 weeks since the gamepad was charged. Also, there is no delay in response time when the charge level is low. The room where I tested the controller is 12' x 14' and I was able to use the controller from any spot in the room. The PS3 controller is supposed to work at up 30' away from its console, but that range will likely differ based on your bluetooth adapter.

While testing the controller, I had my desktop, laptop, and cellphone connected to the home wifi network, with the router not too far from the test system. In addition to the computers, I also had two other PS3 controllers and a Corsair Vengeance 2000 wireless headset connected to the system. With all the wireless devices present, I noticed no drop in performance with the controller. All the controllers were able to operate simultaneously without interference issues.



# Great and insightful Review for gamer at any levelRobN 2012-10-22 22:02
I recently borrowed my brother's ps3 controller to test out how well it works in DiRT 3. It's amazing. I personally hate the xbox controller since prior to my pc i have been a playstation gamer. I feel right at home. DS3 tool ftw.
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# Good review but you missed some important stuff.Mordecones 2012-11-30 10:25
Hi! Been using the DS3 tool with my PS3 controllers for a couple years now and I thought I'd chime in on a couple inaccuracies/omissions in this review:

1.Internet Connection *is not* required for DS3 tool, you simply have to run the program in "local mode", via a tiny download available here:
Extract the archive into your motioninjoy install folder and then click local (at the top) after you load the program. Archive verified clean here:

2. You stated that both controllers would cost the same for the intent of using on the PC. This is incorrect. The xbox360 controller requires a special wireless adapter to work with windows, and cannot connect via a USB cable as it does not transmit data, it only charges. You would need a wired 360 controller or the aforementioned wireless adapter. Either way, the PS3 controller is a clear winner here, using common bluetooth *and* being connectable over the USB cable alone.

3.You stated that the PS3 controller has the same number of buttons as the x360 controller. This is only true in 360 mode. If you run the controller in PS2/PS3 mode you can use the PS button in the middle as an additional button as well. There are plenty of titles that will work perfectly fine in PS2/PS3 mode in the drivers, including every emulator under the sun. Keep in mind you do not want to bind this button to an in game command that requires you to hold down the button for extended periods of time, as this will disconnect your controller!

Thanks for spreading the DS3 love! Great controller and great drivers!
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# lol one last thingMordecones 2012-11-30 10:46
The local mode files go into the MotioninJoy\ds3\ folder, not the base motioninjoy folder. Sorry for the commentspam!
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