How to connect your PS4 controllers to your PS5 and what specialty controllers still work

If you are one of the lucky ones to have nabbed a PlayStation 5, you might not be jumping for joy at the need to go out and buy a bunch of new expensive Dualsense controllers. Luckily, you don’t have to… kind of. Sony said that older PS4 peripherals will work with PS5 games but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

How to connect a PS4 controller (Dualshock 4) to a PS5

Luckily it’s not very hard to connect a PS4 controller to a PS5. In fact, you do it the same way you did it with the PS4. Connect it to a micro USB cable, connect that cable to the system, press the home button, and you are done. Now your PS4 controller can control the PS5 interface just fine, but there are some limitations.

What can a PS4 controller do?

A PS4 controller connected to the PS5 can control any of the PS5’s menus and can control any PS4 game. It cannot, however, control PS5 games. If you attempt to load up a PS5 game with a PS4 controller connected, you will get a message that the game cannot be played and your controller will be unresponsive.

What about arcade sticks and racing wheels?

Sony has said in the past that specialty PS4 controllers will work just fine on the PS5, even for PS5 games. However, this is not currently the case. I attempted to play PS5 titles with PS4 arcade sticks and none of them worked. That being said, there is currently no PS5 exclusive fighting game on the market, so it is entirely possible that these peripherals will work on a case by case basis. If a game does not need the specific functions of the Dualsense, then PS4 peripherals may work, but that may be up to the game developer to code in.

What about controller adapters?

Adapters and converters like the Brook line of cross-platform and cross-generation dongles can be connected to the PS5 to allow you to use controllers from other platforms as PS4 controllers, but again they will not function on most PS5 games. When converters specifically for the PS5 are released, it is likely that they will operate fine with PS5 games.

Is there a workaround?

Actually, there is! The PS5 is compatible with Sony’s Remote Play platform. This allows you to play your PS5 via game streaming to your PS4, tablet, smartphone, or PC. Remote Play allows you to use any controller compatible with the device you are streaming over, including generic PC controllers and PS4 controllers. However, when remote playing these controllers are interpreted by the system as PS5 controllers and you can play any PS5 games. Note, however, if your connected controller or device does not have a microphone you might not be able to proceed in certain games like Astro’s Playroom that require mic input.

While this does introduce a certain amount of lag into the game, it’s negligible on home networks. In fact, you can skip game streaming altogether and just play on the TV your PS5 is connected to, using remote play as a sort of controller interpreter.