The PlayStation 5 is nearly here, and when it arrives, Japanese players are going to have to contend with a change that seems simple on the surface but could be massive in reality. Apparently, Sony is changing the function of some of the PlayStation 5’s controller buttons in Japan, swapping the functionality of the “X” and “O” buttons. That, as you might imagine, is going to be frustrating for Japanese players who are already used to the current functionality of the DualShock 4 and the controllers that came before it.
The change was revealed in a recent hands-on article from Famitsu, and that article brought about a revelation for those of us here in the west: while the PlayStation games we play usually map confirm or accept to “X” and back or cancel to “O,” it’s the other way around in Japan. There, the “O” is accept and the “X” button is cancel, and it’s been that way since the first PlayStation launched.
With the PlayStation 5 and the DualSense controller, Sony is swapping the functionality of those buttons in Japan, bringing their functionality in line with the rest of the world. It’s a simple change, but as VR developer Kenji Iguchi explains on Twitter, it’s one that will have Japanese players trying to undo more than two decades of muscle memory.
“In Japan, the ‘Circle = Good, OK, Correct’ symbolism has been common knowledge for many decades. When designing the original PlayStation controller, it was likely that the placement of the O/X were hence made to match the Super Famicom’s A/B, and were utilized similarly,” Iguchi explained. Indeed, Nintendo’s controllers use a similar layout, and if you compare a Switch Pro Controller with an Xbox One controller, you’ll notice that the A and B button positions are swapped.
So, once the PlayStation 5 and its DualSense controller land in Japan later this year, it seems that quite a few gamers will have to deal with the frustration that comes with muscle memory that’s suddenly been rendered inaccurate. When you consider that Nintendo’s controllers will still be keeping the same layout, those who own both a Switch and PlayStation 5 are in for some particularly annoying struggles.