You want to learn how to use nintendo switch controllers on pc? It’s simple: just make sure you have a working Bluetooth receiver and that they are close enough to your device. What else? Keep reading.
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How to connect Joy-Con controllers to your PC
You can easily pair Joy-Con controllers with a Windows or Mac computer directly from the Bluetooth menu. Follow the steps below to do it.
Step 1: Activate Bluetooth on your PC.
Step 2: Disconnect the Joy-Con from the Switch as you normally would.
Step 3: Press and hold the Sync button –located between the SR and SL buttons– on the Joy-Con until the LED lights start to flash. Use the image below, if you need further clarification.
Step 4: Find the Joy-Con in the Bluetooth menu on your computer and select the option to pair it with your device.
There are a few quirks you should be aware of, like the fact that the lights on the Joy-Con won’t stop flashing. However, you will be able to confirm that the controller is connected by examining your computer’s Bluetooth settings. If you see the error message below, move the controller to make sure no other devices are interfering with the signal. Then try again.
Unfortunately, the two Joy-Cons will be treated as separate controllers. And while it’s great for two-player games, it makes it difficult to use for something more complex.
So until a way is found to pair both Joy-Con as a single controller, use them for simple 2D games or retro games with an emulator.
How to connect the Pro Controller via Steam
Steam Now Officially Supports Switch Pro Controller; it offers the ability to use it with all your games and even remap its buttons, if you see fit.
Step 1: go to the menu Setting of control, in Steam. From here, you can check compatibility with SwitchPro and enable the option Use the Nintendo Button layoutwhich changes all the button prompts in your games to match the Pro controller. If you leave this unchecked, the A/B and X/Y buttons will swap, just like on the Xbox One.
Step 2: Then connect your Switch Pro with a USB cable; you’ll be prompted to register it, as well as calibrate the built-in gyro sensor for motion control in certain games.
Step 3: Once you’ve done this, select Control Settings; you’ll be able to set the function of each button, make presets for certain games, or choose a community member’s settings by pressing the X button. If you want, you can link the gyro sensor to a particular function, which could allow you to be almost as precise such as gamers using the mouse or keyboard in certain games.
How to connect the Switch Pro controller via Bluetooth
If you’re not using Steam, you can also connect the Pro Controller directly to your Windows or macOS device via Bluetooth. It’s a bit more involved than connecting via USB, so we reserve this method for when planning to use the Pro controller with games on a different platform, such as EA Origin, Ubisoft’s UPlay store, and Battle.Net.
As with the Joy-Con controllers, you’ll need to use Bluetooth to connect the Pro controller to a desktop or alternate device. The steps are basically the same as when connecting the Joy-Cons, so check the points above for the exact method.
The Pro Controller’s sync button is located on the top of the controller, to the left of the USB-C connector.
The Pro controller should prove more viable for a wider range of games than the Joy-Con, especially since it offers a more traditional design, although it doesn’t support everything. The Pro controller apparently uses DirectInput, rather than the newer XInput API, so it’s incompatible with many newer games.
One method to avoid this is to download the Program freeware x360ce, which translates DirectInput commands for XInput games. It was designed specifically for Xbox 360 controllers, so x360ce recognizes the Switch Pro controller.
Gaming experience is required to use it, something to keep in mind if you’re going to try this in the first place. It’s an imperfect solution: not all games will work, no matter what you do. For now, we’ll just have to wait for the Homebrew community to come up with their own methods.
There’s something else to keep in mind if you’re connecting your controller wirelessly: You can’t charge the Pro Controller while it’s paired via Bluetooth. If you plan on plugging it in for non-Steam gaming, remember to plug in the Pro Controller before and after, especially if it’s your go-to controller for marathon sessions. Fortunately, the Pro Controller has exceptional battery life – over 40 hours on a full charge.
More things to consider
If you use the Joy-Con, keep in mind that if you’ve had connectivity issues with the Switch, you may run into similar issues on other devices. The Bluetooth connection can be problematic and is easily interrupted by devices that interfere with communication. Therefore, you should keep the area between the Joy-Con and your PC clear.
If you’ve never had any issues with the Joy-Con, you’re probably lucky to have a flawless unit. Nintendo said shortly after the Switch’s launch that it had fixed connectivity issues for future products. So if you didn’t buy your console when it was released in 2017, you’re likely to run into few problems. Or, if you recently purchased your Joy-Con, chances are you won’t have a problem.
Our appreciation for finding new ways to improve technology makes it easy to ignore some connectivity issues. We’ve had emulators for game consoles on PCs for years, but every new game console release comes with the challenge of adapting to the newest technologies for PC gaming. Because most controllers are now wireless, it’s harder to ensure they work with different games. At the moment, they use the popular Bluetooth technology.
Most Macs and Windows PCs come with Bluetooth cards inside. Older computers may not have Bluetooth connectivity, which will limit your ability to play computer games with updated controls.
Outside of the Steam universe, the Pro Controller and Joy-Con are great for playing older versions with DirectInput API support and easy controls. Both of these controllers can be used with games through your PC emulator, which is useful if you like to play old school Nintendo games with modern technology. It might take some tweaking to get used to using the updated controls for you to play the retro versions, but it’s a lot of fun once you get used to it.