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The PS5 DualSense Has One Really Weird Quirk

Backwards compatibility is a major selling point for modern consoles. Be it a love for nostalgia or a desire to avoid newer titles that are more likely to include reviled loot boxes — or a combination of the two — many gamers adore when contemporary consoles can play video games from previous generations. However, the PlayStation 5's approach to backwards compatibility is confusing, especially since the console's controller features an unprecedented case of forward compatibility.


Though the PS5 isn't available for the masses until Nov. 12, many outlets and content creators, such as Venture Beat and YongYea, have received early copies of the console and its DualSense controller. While many reviewers have spread the good word via glowing assessments of the controller and the PS5's pack-in game, some went above and beyond to test the DualSense's capabilities. Many of these super-early adopters made an interesting discovery in the process: the DualSense can connect to the PlayStation 3.

One such DualSense pioneer was YouTuber MidnightMan, whose revelation came about in a fairly circular manner. MidnightMan started by posting a video with a simple premise: unbox the controller and test it out. Since he couldn't snag a PS5, MidnightMan tried the next best thing: connecting the Dualsense to older consoles. At first, he tried pairing the DualSense to the PS4, which ran into unexpected roadblocks. The console refused to recognize it.


MidnightMan couldn't pair using Bluetooth, and even the tried and true method of plugging the controller directly into the console produced nothing. Eventually, MidnightMan found a workaround via Remote Play, but that approach wasn't all smooth sailing. Bluetooth continued to misbehave, connecting to the controller but not recognizing its inputs. Physically linking the controller to his PC via a USB-C cable, however, did the trick.

MidnightMan was ready to write off the DualSense as non-consumer friendly, especially compared to the DualShock 4. That's when he revealed his hand: the DualSense works out of the box with the PS3. All MidnightMan had to do was plug the controller into his older console and it worked like a charm — no fiddling with Remote Play necessary or anything. However, MidnightMan only tried linking the controller and console physically via cable — he didn't bother with Bluetooth. While MidnightMan was less than pleased with the DualSense's Bluetooth functionality, its ability to connect to the PS3 was a welcome surprise. He still wished it worked with his PS4 and is holding out hope for an eventual firmware patch to fix this oversight, though.

Another YouTuber, Mystic, posted his own DualSense unboxing and test video and confirmed MidnightMan's findings. Once Mystic plugged the DualSense into the PS3, he was good to go, and he could play every game as normal. The controller functioned as intended with one caveat: the PS home button didn't work. At all. Apparently, the PS3 recognizes the DualSense as a generic controller instead of an official PlayStation controller. 


Mystic also tried to pair his DualSense with his PS4 and ran into the same roadblocks as MidnightMan. Unless Mystic directly plugged his controller into his computer and used Remote Play, the PS4 refused to cooperate. While MidnightMan and Mystic only tried the DualSense on the PS3 via a hard connection, ResetEra user iceblade managed to pair his controller via Bluetooth. And no, the PS home button doesn't work wirelessly, either

However, PS3 compatibility doesn't mark the end of the DualSense's legacy of quirks. Twitter user BrokenGamezHDR wirelessly paired the DualSense with their Nintendo Switch of all things, albeit thanks to an 8BitDo adapter. Still, this discovery indicates the DualSense can work wirelessly with most consoles save the PS4 and Xbox. One would think that wirelessly connecting to the PS4 would be at the top of Sony's priorities, but apparently not.

The DualSense's PS3 compatibility is doubly confusing since PS3 games aren't compatible with the PS5. Yet, PS5 peripherals are compatible with the PS3? What have you wrought, Sony?