While the DualShock 3 is a perfectly serviceable input device, it lacks the refinement of the PlayStation 4 controller’s more ergonomic shell. As such, you may be cursing Sony’s classic peripheral when you return to your PlayStation 3 backlog – but fortunately, there is an alternative. While the DualShock 4 has always been compatible with the Japanese giant’s previous generation console, you had to have the peripheral plugged in – but due to a recent firmware update, that flaw appears to have been fixed. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Connect your DualShock 4 to your PS3
Use the USB cable provided with your PS4 (or a replacement) to connect your DualShock 4 to one of the PS3’s USB slots. This should allow you to control the console when plugged in, but we’re going to tell you how to unlock wireless access.
2. Scan for a Bluetooth device
With the controller plugged in, scroll to the ‘Settings’ section of the XMB, twirl the menu down to ‘Accessory Settings’, and select ‘Manage Bluetooth Devices’. You’re going to want to ‘Register a New Device’, so select that and click on ‘Start Scanning’.
3. The tricky bit
While the system’s scanning for new devices, carefully unplug your controller, and push the PlayStation and share buttons simultaneously. You will want to make sure that your controller is not paired with your PS4 while you do this to avoid accidentally turning on your next-gen console. When the light flashes on the top of the controller, quickly replace the cable, and your PS3 will pick up a new ‘Wireless Controller’. Select it to complete the registration process, and then you’ll be able to play your games with the DualShock 4 without a cable attached. Simples.
It’s perhaps worth mentioning that this solution still doesn't provide full compatibility, meaning that features such as the PlayStation button and motion controls aren’t currently supported, but you’ll need to make up your own mind about whether you want to sacrifice such functionality for the improved triggers and analogue sticks that the DualShock 4 provides.