Can The PS5 DualSense Controller Be Used With The Nintendo Switch?

Can The PS5 DualSense Controller Be Used With The Nintendo Switch?

Written by 

Tom Chapman


4th Nov 2020 14:30

It's the dawn of a new era as Sony unveils the PlayStation 5's DualSense controller. Replacing the classic DualShock that many of us grew up with, the DualSense represents a complete overhaul of how we'll play Sony's next-gen console. 

It's quite literally a case of out with the old, in with the new, with Sony confirming your DualShock controller won't work with the PS5. Well, that's unless you're playing PS4 games. While it's sad that we'll largely be waving goodbye to the DualShock, the promise is that it'll be worth it in the long run. The DualSense is an impressive beast, to say the least - boasting adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, and a "Create" button to share your content at the press of a button.

We'd always expected the PS5 DualSense would replace the DualShock, but in a bizarre twist of fate, there are now rumours the DualSense is something of a universal controller that can be used with the likes of the PlayStation 3 and even Nintendo Switch, so, is this the case? 

Can you use the PS5 DualSense on the Nintendo Switch?

Yes, you can. It's really quite easy to get your DualSense up and running on Nintendo Switch. Posting on Twitter, user @BrokenGamezHDR showed how you only need an 8BitDo adapter to bring the two systems together. In the short video, it showed them scrolling through the Switch's systems with ease. Obviously, part of the Switch's fun is playing with the iconic JoyCon controllers, so not everyone will want to try out the DualSense unless it's on the big screen.

To get your DualSense working on the Switch, simply plug the 8BitDo wireless adapter into the Switch port and pair the devices. Of course, this is nothing new. Back when the PS4 DualShock was new on the market, the 8BitDo did the exact same thing, and let you unite that controller with the Sony rival. Still, it's important to note features like the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers won't be enabled on Switch.


What else can the DualSense controller be used on?

As we mentioned above, compatibility tests are being done across the board, and showing how the DualSense has some surprising console partners in crime. Looking at when the PlayStation 3 reigned supreme, Sony's ambitions to topple the Xbox meant the PS3's Bluetooth technology stood it in good stead. Jump forward to 2020, and it's that same feature that lets the PS5 DualSense controller play (almost) perfectly on PS3. Check out the 9:00 mark in the video to see YouTuber Mystic trying it out. 

Similar to how the DualSense worked on the Switch, all the flashy new features won't be enabled. This then raised the question of whether the DualSense could be paired with the PS4. In short, the answer is no. When delving deeper into the inner workings of the PS3 and PS4, user @LegacyZeroZ explained how the PS4 was designed to be more restrictive and only support other controllers on specific games that had "Legacy Controller" support. 


What does the future of controllers hold?

Pairing controllers with foreign consoles is an old trick, and can help you out of a jam if you go to your friend's house and forget your controllers. It's similar to back in the day when SEGA opted for an off-the-shelf port for its Mega Drive controller, meaning it could also be used universally. This was emulated later when the Xbox 360 controller became the go-to for PC users who wanted to use a pad over keyboard and mouse, thanks to its standard USB connector. 

As we've moved into a generation of wireless controllers, we've seen a more unified approach where you can mix and match controllers with consoles they were clearly never designed for. It's weird seeing the DualSense being used on a Switch, but for those who are used to the look and feel of a PlayStation controller or want to get to grips with the DualSense, it makes a lot of, erm, sense.

The future is definitely bright for the DualSense's features, with suggestions that developers should start making the most of it. The whole adaptive trigger idea means you can feel the strain on a bow or tell the difference between firing a shotgun and a machine gun. The problem is, as shown in the DualSense/Switch situation, is the fact the big companies aren't yet willing to work together.

Unless everyone adopts the same approach at the same time, your adaptive triggers would be wasted on the likes of the Xbox Series X. Still, it's fun to see just where the PS5 DualSense controller can be put to good use.


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