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Steam finally adds support for Nintendo Joy-Con controllers

Nintendo Joy-Con
(Image credit: Nintendo)
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Good news for anyone who wants to use Nintendo Joy-Con controllers on their PC: The devices are now officially supported by Steam (opens in new tab).

Joy-Cons have actually been functional on PCs for years now: French site Nintendo Actu (opens in new tab) first figured out how to make them work back in 2017. But that was a limited implementation, with only one of the two controllers usable at a time in singleplayer games. The official Steam support is much more robust, however, making them usable "both individually as a mini-gamepad and combined into pairs," and—according to user comments—with remappable buttons.

The Joy-Con support is included in the latest Steam beta update, which means you'll need to be opted into the Steam client beta. To do so, hop into your Steam settings and look for "Beta participation" under the Account menu. Hit the "Change" button, select "Steam Beta Update," then restart and you'll be on your way. 

On the hardware side, you'll also need a USB Bluetooth adapter (one of those will set you back about 10 bucks or so), or have a motherboard with Bluetooth built in, in order to actually make the connection with the Joy-Cons.

I'm a dedicated mouse-and-keyboard guy—I played all the way through Elden Ring using M&K, and let me tell you that takes real commitment—and so the appeal of controllers largely eludes me. But the response to the addition of Joy-Con support seems very positive overall. A couple of users have complained in the comments about issues with Linux support: if you're in that boat too, you might find some help (or at least an explanation about what the problem is) in the Steam for Linux client docs on Github (opens in new tab).

The new beta update also improves support for the Nintendo Online classic controllers, which was initially added on June 17 (opens in new tab).

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.