With Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and XBox One game console controllers you can plug them into your computer to play your games using those controllers. That’s right! plug it in and it just works with your PC games.
Sadly there is no native way to make your PlayStation 3 controller “just work” with your PC. That’s why my pick of the week is a really cool utility called DS3 Tool (a user friendly front-end for MotionInJoy).
The way that it works is that you plug in your controller and install the correct “driver” (the software required for hardware in general to talk to the computer). Then, simply click “load driver” and hopefully you can start using your PlayStation 3 controller with your PC. There are also ways in the app to check if your controller is indeed working. You can press a button to bring up the regular Windows gamepad control panel.
I already have a Razer Arcade Stick (compatible with both the XBox 360 and the PC), however that might not be the appropriate controller for the job for some games. I also have a PlayStation 3 controller.
In my tests I used Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed (a motorsport/car racing game by EA). I plugged in my PlayStation 3 controller and fired up the DS3 Tool. When using the XInput option(which tricks the PC into thinking that it’s an XBox 360 controller) it worked well. I used the default control mappings in the game and that worked well. I even tested it out with some older arcade games and I was able to play them with no problem.
DS3 Tool is a free download from sourceforge.