Troubleshooting Your Controllers During A Parsec Stream

If a client is having controller issues, here are some things to try. Note that if the host is having issues with their own controller, it's not an issue with Parsec.

Install the controller drivers on host

Only the host needs to install the drivers below. We use nefarius's ViGEm open source virtual controller driver, under the MIT License.

  • Consider disabling your antivirus during installation to prevent common issues
  • Download and run the setup: Latest version
  • Once done, restart Parsec (by right-clicking the taskbar icon in the bottom-right)
Give the clients controller permission

In Parsec's interface, ensure you activated the controller button close to the client's name.

Clients using non xbox controllers might need to follow additional steps

Parsec works best with controllers using the Xinput API (used by xbox controllers). This means genuine xbox controllers should work fine. For other controllers, the client has to do either of two options on their PC:

Use a program to convert the controller to Xinput

If your controller isn't listed here, create a SDL mapping below.

Controller Program or article
Dualshock 4 DS4Windows
Dualshock 3 ScpToolkit
Steam Controller See this article
Gamecube Controller See this article
Switch Pro Controller and Joy-Cons BetterJoyForCemu
Wii U Pro Controller WiinUSoft
Wiimote WiinUSoft or WiimoteHook

Or, create a SDL mapping for the controller

  • Use this tool to create the mapping, and copy it
  • Go to %appdata%\Parsec\controller.txt (or ~\.parsec\controller.txt), make the file if it doesn't exist
  • Paste the mapping you made in the text file, then save
  • Restart Parsec by right-clicking the bottom-right corner icon in the taskbar
Specific client issues on macOS, Android and Raspberry Pi


  • Macs do not recognize Xinput controllers, so you'll need this driver. If the driver requests security permissions, you must approve them to get the controllers working
  • Bluetooth controllers may not work properly. If in doubt, use it with a USB cable
  • DS4 controllers should work out of the box (given you use it with a USB cable)


Controller support on Android is inconsistent due to the large amounts of phone makers offering different levels of compatibility. Your best bet is to update your gamepad firmware (e.g. there was a major firmware update for Xbox One controllers with Bluetooth that improved compatibility with Android). You may also have different results with an OTG cable instead of Bluetooth.

Raspberry Pi

  • Xbox controllers will need drivers. The best one we found is xboxdrv (sudo apt-get install xboxdrv)
  • Bluetooth connection on Xbox One S controllers will need xpadneo
Steam's Big Picture mode is registering controllers as mouse/keyboard

If you've entered Steam's Big Picture mode, it sets xbox controllers to desktop mode by default, which makes them act like a mouse and keyboard. Avoid this by not entering Big Picture on the host, or disable it here.

Parsec Arcade Beta: The game isn't fully supported yet

On Arcade, each game/renderer has to be manually supported, so input can be broken. Test out in a normal party or direct connection instead to rule this one out. Here's a list of known supported games.

The controller still doesn't work after trying everything above

Confirm the controller works fine on the client

The clients should go to on their own PC and press buttons to see if their controller works fine.

  • If the controller is not showing up on their side, then it's an issue with the client and Parsec has no controller to find in the first place. Check if the controller is properly connected or if drivers are missing
  • If it does show up, that's good. Try the section below now

Check if the controller is detected by the host

Add your internet browser to the approved apps (if enabled) so that clients can see the following site. Go to, and tell your friends to press buttons on the controller and see if it's appearing on the site and working.

  • If it's working, then it's an issue with your game, emulator or program. Check if coop is enabled, or if you've properly configured it
  • If it's not working, double check everything on this article and ensure that there's nothing wrong