PS5 X Button Changes How Players Confirm and Cancel in Japan

This seemingly simple UI change marks the end of an era for the PlayStation brand and raises some questions about user accessibility.

PlayStation DualSense
Photo: Sony

In a somewhat strange move, it seems that the PS5 will make the “X” button the standard selection input across all regions.

This information originates from Japanese media outlets who have had the chance to preview the PS5’s UI and other features. Their reports find that the “X” button is now used for any confirmation or selection inputs on the PS5. While that may not sound like much of a story to any Western PlayStation gamers who have been using that button to confirm selections for years now, it comes as quite a shock to Japanese gamers who have used the “O” button for confirmation inputs since the launch of the original PlayStation.

Why? According to Twitter user Kenji Iguchi, it comes down to some interesting cultural and historical differences:

Whether or not this is a big difference is really going to come down to your personal preferences and (naturally) what region of PlayStation hardware you’ve been using all of these years. Iguchi and others point out that this is going to require many Japanese gamers to readjust their muscle memory for UI commands. That’s especially true for Japanese gamers who plan to own a PS5 and a Switch.

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As for Sony, they noted in a recent statement that there will be no way to alter this command option, but they offer no official explanation regarding why they made this change in the first place. It seems logical that this is based on their desire to unify the platform across all regions, but until they offer an official explanation, we can only really just guess in regards to their intentions.

In any case, it seems that Nintendo is the last major “hold-out” of the old “confirmation input on the right” layout, which (if nothing else) is an interesting footnote in the evolution of the video game industry over the last 30+ years. As gaming becomes more and more global and the lines between regions. and even platforms, become blurred, we suppose we can see the logic in changes like this helping to unify concepts across the board.

Still, it would be nice if Sony offers some kind of way for Japanese gamers to swap the inputs. At the very least, this swap will surely be an inconvenience for many gamers in a market that has traditionally helped Sony maintain the hardware lead over Xbox in the three previous console wars the two companies have engaged in so far.