The Nintendo Switch offers several play styles, an advantage of its hybrid console/handheld nature. You can play docked and connected to your TV, or portably in handheld or tabletop modes. The Switch also supports a number of first and third-party controller options out of the box. These options make finding a comfortable setup easy — but what if you want to play your Nintendo Switch games with a PlayStation 4 or 5 controller, or an Xbox gamepad? You totally can.
In theory, this should be impossible. Sony and Microsoft use different input drivers than those the Switch typically supports. However, if you’re willing to pay a few bucks, there’s a way to force a PlayStation or Xbox controller to sync up your Nintendo switch with minimal effort.
To connect a PlayStation or Xbox controller to your Nintendo Switch, you’ll need a third-party accessory called the Mayflash Magic NS. This tiny USB wireless dongle slots right into your Switch dock, or you can daisy chain it to your Switch’s USB-C port using the included USB dongle when you’re playing handheld. There are two versions of the device available: The Magic NS 1 ($US20 ($28) on Amazon) and Magic NS 2 ($US22 ($31) on Amazon). Either offers built-in support for numerous controller APIs, including DInput, XInput, and more. PlayStation 3, 4 and 5 controllers (along with a litany of other gamepads) work on both models, but Xbox controllers only work with the Magic NS 2.
There are some tradeoffs, of course. Certain controller-specific features — such as the haptic triggers on the PS5’s DualSense — won’t work with the Switch, since no Switch games are built with those technologies in mind. That said, motion and gyro controls should function on controllers that offer it.
Using a non-Switch controller to play Switch games can also be disorienting if you’re used to the PS5 and Xbox’s normal button mapping. While you can adjust the Switch’s universal button mapping configuration under System Settings > Controllers and Sensors > Change Button Mapping, the in-game button icons obviously won’t match your non-Switch controller, which adds an extra layer of confusion. But potential button mix ups aside, setup is simple.
Not all third-party controllers require the Magic NS, and some others won’t work with the dongle, but it’s a handy solution for anyone wanting to play their Switch using their preferred controller. Speaking of which, we can also help connect your PlayStation 5 or Xbox controller to your PC, too.