Starting from Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s operating system support usb gamepads natively. There aren’t problems connecting the Xbox 360 joypad, but for the PlayStation 3 one, a few issues might arise, especially if you want to connect it via Bluetooth. This guide is split between the Microsoft Xbox 360 controller and the Sony DualShock 3 one.
Xbox 360 gamepad
To use a Xbox 360 gamepad you need:
- An Android 4.0+ device
- A USB OTG cable:
- A USB Xbox 360 gamepad (wireless one can be used only with a USB receiver, Play & Charge kit won’t work)
USB wireless receiver for Xbox 360 gamepads
Once you’ve got all this stuff, you just need to connect the USB OTG cable to your Android device, and then connect the Xbox 360 gamepad (or wireless receiver) and turn it on: the system will automatically recognize it and will let you use it in supported games and emulators.
Sony DualShock 3
A bit more complex is connecti the Sony DualShock 3 gamepad to your Android. Let’s distinguish some cases:
- You’ve got an Xperia device with Android 4.2+ (Z3+ and Z4 Tablet excluded): support is already built in and you’ll find an option (with a tutorial) in Settings
- If you rooted your device, you can connect the gamepad via Bluetooth through the Sixaxis Controller app (not free). With this app you can also use the gamepad with games that only support touch input on screen, through its advanced settings.
- If you have a stock device, you can only connect the DualShock 3 through a cable: just connect it to a USB OTG adapter and your device will recognize it automatically. Eventually, you can try Sixaxis Enabler (not free)
Now, I will only explain how to connect your gamepad through Bluetooth on a rooted device.
- First thing first, you need to check compatibility with your device (this solution doesn’t work with most HTC and Samsung devices): just download the free app Sixaxis Compatibility Checker and open it
- If your device is compatible, buy the complete app Sixaxis Controller
- Turn on Bluetooth, open the just-bought app, tap on Start and write down the Local Bluetooth Address: this is the Bluetooth address of your Android device, that you’ll put on a tool for Windows or Mac to pair your DualShock 3
- Download the tool for Windows or Mac (for this one you need libusb, you can download the pkg for Mavericks or Yosemite if you don’t have it already installed)
- Windows: start the tool you just downloaded, connect the gamepad through USB to the computer and turn it on; in Change Master put the Local Bluetooth Address that you wrote down before and Update.
- Mac: install libusb pkg, connect the gamepad through USB to the computer and open Terminal (you can look for it with Spotlight): type cd and drag & drop the folder where you downloaded the sixpair tool (usually in Downloads, so it will be cd /Users/YourUserName/Downloads), press enter; now type chmod +x sixpair (enter);be sure that your gamepad is connected and turn it on, type ./sixpair and the Local Bluetooth Address you wrote down before (invio)
- Disconnect the DualShock 3 from the computer, and turn it on: if everything went well, the 4 light will stop flashing and only one will turn on
- Now, you just need to change the input method in your Android device (from Settings or tapping on the IME button in the app): select Sixaxis Controller, and you are set. Happy playing!
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