Ever since the first video game consoles, competing manufacturers have disagreed on the correct button placements, button faces, as well as the functionality of these buttons. While the ecosystem is perhaps more uniform than ever, the next generation PlayStation 5 is set to take this a step further. While Japanese PlayStation owners have used the O button to signify ‘confirm’, while the X served as a back button since the PSOne, the PlayStation 5 in Japan will now line-up with the Western methodology.
Recently, Sony allowed a number of Japanese online influencers the chance to get their hands-on with the upcoming PlayStation 5 console. One of the more interesting observations from the event, alongside the knowledge that the console is relatively silent, was the fact that the X button now serves as the confirm button, while the O button is now the back button. Though this has always been the case for PlayStation in the West, Japan has historically had these two buttons reversed.
— Nibel (@Nibellion) October 4, 2020
While it may not seem like such a big deal, the change is perhaps more significant than it first appears. The PlayStation’s symbols of ‘Triangle’ ‘Circle’ ‘Cross’ and ‘Square’ have always had meanings attributed to them. For the X and O buttons, these actually represent the Japanese marking system, similar to how a check and cross are used elsewhere – the O signifying correct, with the X being incorrect.
With Sony forcing Japanese owners to adopt the Western system, the buttons now technically function opposite to what the symbols are saying. Though ultimately relatively inconsequential (especially as we don’t yet know if it can be changed back), it is further evidence of Sony’s continued push to make PlayStation a uniform brand globally – a move which began following the restructuring and formation of Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2016. It’ll be interesting to see all the other smaller changes coming with the PS5.
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KitGuru says: What do you think of the PlayStation control scheme? Which console controller is your favourite? Do you prefer symbols or letters for controller buttons? Let us know down below.