The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is one of the most expensive “baseline” controllers in the current console generation, but it’s durable, feels comfortable to play with, and boasts an outstanding directional pad and motion sensors. The Bluetooth gamepad connects to your PC without an adaptor.
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller appears to Windows as a DirectInput controller, not an XInput controller like the Xbox Series S/X and Xbox One gamepads. Valve added Switch Pro Controller support to Steam, so most of your games should work. We’ll walk you through non-Steam game steps.
Connecting your Switch Pro Controller to your PC is required before use. Wired and wireless are choices. Wireless is more convenient than wired. It’s difficult.
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Wired connect Switch Pro controller to PC
Plug your Pro Controller cable (or any USB-A-to-USB-C or USB-C-to-USB-C data cable) into the controller.
Connect the cord to your computer.
Finally! Windows 10 labels the controller “Pro Controller.” Next, install Steam.
Wirelessly connect Switch Pro to PC
It’s straightforward with a Bluetooth adaptor or onboard Bluetooth.
Press and hold the Sync button on the Pro Controller until the lights flash.
Right-click Bluetooth icon on system tray.
“Add Bluetooth Device.”
“Add Bluetooth or other device.”
Bluetooth” (because Windows 10 needs to be reassured that you want to use Bluetooth).
If it doesn’t, make sure the indication lights are still flashing. Pair the controller by clicking.
Next, install Steam.
To make sure the Pro Controller works with your PC game, use Steam’s lean-back Big Picture option.
If Steam doesn’t open Big Picture when you attach the Pro Controller, go to Settings.
General Controller Settings launches Big Picture full-screen.
“Switch Pro Configuration Support.”
If you attach a Pro Controller, the mouse cursor should disappear and Big Picture should be playable with a controller. You can toggle “Use Nintendo Button Layout” to map A/B/X/Y like the Pro Controller (clockwise X, A, B, Y from the top) or like an Xbox controller (clockwise Y, B, A, X from the top).
The Pro Controller should operate with any Steam game when set up using Steam. Click the controller under “Detected Controllers” to toggle vibration. Calibrate the analogue sticks if they’re off. You can set how long the controller stays connected before sleeping.
Using Big Picture ensures that Steam’s controller compatibility, over-the-game remapping, and configuration choices show as expected. When we played No Man’s Sky, the controller worked through Big Picture but the desktop mapping was off.
Enter the Pro Controller’s controller options in Big Picture mode to bring up Steam’s Switch Pro Controller overlay. It allows you verify and fix controller mappings. You can explicitly map Pro Controller inputs to any keystroke or gamepad input, but the default should work for most games. No Man’s Sky’s right-stick running was troublesome without human modifications.
8BitDo USB adapter
Steam’s Pro Controller support is welcome, but Windows won’t recognise it for non-Steam games. You can remedy this using a hardware Bluetooth adapter or a software XInput wrapper.
The $20 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter lets you connect the Switch Pro Controller, Switch Joy-Cons, or Wii U Pro Controller to your PC. Connecting the Switch Pro Controller to the adapter with the physical sync button instead of through your PC’s Bluetooth menu lets it work like a PC-friendly Xbox controller.
It’s powerful and complicated. Instead of Steam or a USB adaptor, a software wrapper translates the Pro Controller’s inputs into a Windows 10-friendly format.
X360ce allows you adjust how Windows sees non-XInput controllers. It’s a wrapper that emulates an Xbox 360 controller by mapping inputs. x360ce wasn’t updated since 2020.
If you’re willing to install and tweak software wrappers, the Switch Pro Controller should work. Third-party driver wrappers are tricky.
On Switch, Joy-Cons are powerful and versatile, but cumbersome on PC. Joy-Cons may be paired with a PC through Bluetooth, just like the Switch Pro Controller. Each Joy-Con will register as its own controller, and getting two to work as one with Dolphin is difficult at best, according to this Reddit thread.
See our page on PC controllers for more information. We also offer instructions for PS4 and Xbox controllers.