📅 September 27, 2018
A new color scheme of controllers has been released for the PlayStation 4 a few days ago, and one of these controllers is the colorful Berry Blue DualShock 4.
Of course, a fancy controller like this must have more than one purpose in life, right? So, here is the important question: How compatible is it with RetroPie?
As it turns out, this is a very good addition to any RetroPie system as a wired or Bluetooth wireless controller, and it works flawlessly.
Berry Blue DualShock 4
Do you plan to use this on a PC with Windows *cough* games? Then, be prepared for a surprise. The previous model# CUH-ZCT1U is a better option because, for PC games that recognize the PlayStation 4 controller, proper PlayStation controller icons will appear in-game. But the newer model# CUH-ZCT2U (the berry blue) will be seen as an XBox controller and display XBox icons or might not work at all. I have encountered compatibility issues regarding the new DualShock 4 models and PC games.
For example, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will recognize the first model# CUH-ZCT1U controller and display PlayStation icons in-game, but the second model# CUH-ZCT2U will be seen by Assassin’s Creed Syndicate as an XBox controller and the game will display XBox icons. For other PC games, model CUH-ZCT2U is not even recognized and cannot be used while the older CUH-ZCT1U works perfectly.
This controller is 100% compatible with the latest (as of this writing) RetroPie 4.4 running on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which is recommended due to its faster CPU and built-in Bluetooth. This has been a solid performer for over two years, and it continues to delight.
Usage is simple. Connect the controller to the Pi via a USB to micro USB cable and the controller works out of the box. No configuration or drivers are necessary. The only controller mapping involves EmulationStation and RetroArch, which you would perform with any other controller anyway.
The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B has built-in Bluetooth. On the latest RetroPie versions, this works flawlessly with all DualShock 4 controllers that I have tried (old and new models), but you need to register the controller with RetroPie first.
Connect the DualShock 4 to the Pi via USB and connect a USB keyboard. Yes, we will need a keyboard (or a second DualShock 4 controller that has already been registered and paired with RetroPie). After RetroPie boots and EmulationStation shows the start screen (you might need to map controller buttons if this step has not been performed yet), use the controller to enter the RetroPie menu.
Disconnect the DualShock 4 controller from the USB cable at this point, and put the DualShock 4 into pairing mode by holding the Share + PS buttons (in that order) on the DualShock 4 for a few seconds. The controller light will flash white in rapid succession twice every few seconds.
Press Enter on the keyboard (another controller already paired will also work) to select OK.
The new controller should now work immediately as a wireless controller. If you registered a DualShock 4 controller in the past and mapped the buttons previously, then they should still be available for the new DualShock 4 and you can navigate EmulationStation now. If not, then it is necessary to map the controller buttons for both EmulationStation and RetroArch.
Let’s test the DualShock 4 as a wireless Bluetooth controller. Restart RetroPie (from EmulationStation or sudo reboot from a terminal). Disconnect the keyboard and the DualShock 4 USB cable.
As RetroPie boot, press the PS button on the DualShock 4. It will attempt to pair with RetroPie.
Note: If the DualShock 4 does not pair at the EmulationStation Welcome screen despite pressing the PS button, then reboot RetroPie and ensure that you press the PS button during the Raspberry Pi boot process. The DualShock 4 light should be flashing before this screen appears. I have encountered this situation a few times, and this fixed the issue.
If this is the first time you are connecting a DualShock 4 controller, then EmulationStation will prompt you to map the buttons. Note that you must also map the buttons in RetroArch as well. The two are separate and require separate button mappings.
Multiple DualShock 4 Controllers
“Can I use more than one DualShock 4 controller wirelessly with RetroPie?”
Yes. Register each new controller one at a time using the same process described above. When you want to use a controller, just press its PS button. The controller will pair and become active. It will then be up to you to configure which controller is for Player 1, Player 2, Player 3, and so on in RetroArch.
You can even register controllers and only use one at a time. Are you in the mood the use a steel black DualShock 4? Press its PS button. When you boot RetroPie another day, you might be in the mood to use the berry blue colored controller, so press its PS button.
The new DualShock 4 model works well, and I have not experienced any issues. Wireless gameplay is just as reliable as a wired controller without any input lag.
Other colors are available besides Berry Blue, and the DualShock 4 color schemes can make it easier to find out which controller belongs to which player if not wired — and to add variety.