Sony Switches PS5 Button Functionality in Japan to Match North America and Europe Standard

Manga October 09, 21:10 0
After years of speculation, the hotly anticipated PS5 video game console is finally scheduled to release next month on November 12th, 2020, for North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. Europe, the UK, and the rest of the world will get their hands on the hardware a week later on November 19th. With a release window very similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, the next-gen in gaming is most definitely upon us. While this is an exciting time for gamers, one new revelation about the PS5 has thrown some longtime Playstation fans for a loop.

For over 25 years, since the inception of the original Playstation, the right side of the system's handheld controller has hosted four distinct buttons - a Triangle button, a Square button, a Circle button, and an X button. In Japan, the Circle button traditionally acted as a confirmation button while the X button was used to cancel. This same button layout was passed down to each of the console’s predecessors - the PS2, PS3, and most recently, the PS4. But as SoraNews24 reported, the default settings for the new DualSense PS5 controller sold in Japan will switch the functionality between the Circle and X buttons. X will act as confirmation while Circle will stand for cancellation.

Some Japanese gamers are confused and upset by this change, an understandable reaction. After all, the Circle symbol in Japan is traditionally utilized to mean “yes” and “correct.” In contrast, the X symbol is used to represent “no” and “incorrect.” 

However, in Western parts of the world, Playstation’s default layout has always assigned X as the confirmation button because X is used on forms and lists to express that something has been checked off, or completed. Meanwhile, the Circle button was interpreted as a cancellation input because the circle was colored red - red commonly denoting “stop,” or “no.” That said, US gamers have not complained about PS5’s default button layouts, seeing how it’s business as usual for them.

Sony’s official reason for changing the layout of the Japanese version for the controller is to initiate a “worldwide standard”  for the Playstation. This way, Japanese players will have the same inputs for both Japanese and Western produced games. But SoraNews24 suggests that the alteration may have a very challenging effect on “muscle memory” that has been built up over two and a have decades of gaming on the popular platform.

This is an issue I have personal experience with - I once lived in Japan and purchased a PS3 there. It was often frustrating to use the PS3’s menu with the X and Circle button flipped from the Western way I was used to. However, my Western games remained set to the Western standard. In the end, I didn’t mind switching back and forth too much, but I can sympathize with it being too uncomfortable a change for others. Fortunately, Japanese gamers preferring the old standard will likely be able to adjust the default button settings in the PS5’s menu.

(image source: Amazon)
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