PS5's X and Circle buttons are switching uses in Japan, but only for the hardware

PS5 controller, AKA DualSense
(Image credit: Sony)

In what can only be described as a historic change, Sony is switching around the X and Circle buttons on the PS5's DualSense controller in Japan, meaning X is now used to confirm, whereas Circle is used to decline.

If you weren't aware, in Japan PlayStation uses the X and Circle buttons to mean the opposite of what they mean in the west. So Japanese PlayStation players would traditionally use Circle to confirm something and X to cancel something, a direct opposite of what we're used to in the west.

That's all changing with the PS5 controller, according to Famitsu. In terms of hardware, PS5 users in Japan will now use the X button to confirm an action, and the Circle button to cancel something. But, even more confusingly, the buttons will retain their traditional corresponding actions in PS5 games.

So, for example, if a Japanese PS5 user was playing Demon's Souls, they'd use X to boot up the game just like we would. But in Demon's Souls itself, they'd use Circle to confirm things, and X to cancel an action. That's pretty confusing, without factoring in over two decades of muscle memory for the most seasoned PlayStation customers in Japan.

Understandably, this change has caused discomfort among Japan's PlayStation audience. Below, you can see Famitsu editor Kenji Iguchi remarking on the change from Sony, who cites the "O = Good, OK, Correct" symbolism in Japan as having been common knowledge for decades. It's easy to see why many Japanese players would be confused by the sudden departure.

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These new details about the PS5 surface after members of the Japanese press and YouTube content creators got their hands on the console itself for the first time over the last few days. Additionally, it's emerged that the PS5's cooling fans remain pretty much silent even while playing games, and the DualSense controller has four LED lights in the front, that indicate which player you are.

If you're still looking to reserve your own PS5 for later on this year at launch, head over to our complete PS5 pre-orders guide for more.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.