The Pro Controller and Joy Cons for the Nintendo Switch aren't restricted to use with the console itself, making them much more useful peripherals.
The biggest selling point of the Nintendo Switch is its attempt to combine the strengths of a portable system and a home console, thanks to its unique Joy-Con controllers. It turns out though, that they, alongside the also-released Pro Controller, can work on a number of hardware devices, not just the Nintendo Switch.
The Pro Controller can be synced with a PC using the Windows Bluetooth Settings menu, according to a report from IGN. This means that PC gamers can use the pad as an alternative to the mouse and keyboard for games that are tailored to a console control scheme.
The Joy-Cons connect in much the same way, displaying on a connected PC as two distinct controllers. That means you can’t use them at the same time — though TechCrunch is convinced that won’t be too much of a challenge for enterprising bedroom hackers. All of the buttons work, though, and this does mean that the Joy Cons provide two-player gaming support for titles without masses of button inputs being required. You can only connect them wirelessly, though, and they won’t charge when in use, even if also plugged in via USB Type-C.
In one demonstration video, YouTuber DreWoof has managed to map out one of the controllers to let him play Smash Bros Melee on his PC. They work just as well on Macs, too, we’re told, with no additional software required.
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DreWoof has also been testing the limits of the Pro Controller’s connectivity. Steam’s Big Picture mode is said to work with the controller, although certain games aren’t playable, depending on the controller input styles that they support on an individual basis. DreWoof also managed to pair the Pro Controller with an Android device, but in some cases input was too laggy for any practical usage.
Unfortunately, with iOS using its own Bluetooth controller, there’s no hope of it working natively with Nintendo’s new controllers.
Confirmation that the Pro Controller can connect to a range of devices via Bluetooth won’t have gamers rushing out to buy the pad, but it’s a nice bonus for Switch owners who were buying the peripheral anyway.
It’s relatively easy to connect a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller to a PC, but doing the same with the Wii U Pro Controller required a bit of legwork. It’s good to see Nintendo achieving parity with its biggest competition, even if it’s with regard to a minor piece of functionality.
Updated 03-06-2017 by Jon Martindale: Added information on Joy-Con PC, Mac, Android connectivity.