Sony Interactive Entertainment will be breaking a two-decade long tradition by having PlayStation 5 in Japan use the X button for confirmations. PS5 was previously thought to use the O button instead which has always been the case for all previous PlayStation consoles in the country.
According to hands-on impressions shared by a number of Japanese publications earlier today, Japanese players will be using X as the confirmation button on PS5 just like the rest of the world. Sony will be going forward with this layout scheme for not only DualSense but also future PlayStation console generations.
— Nibel (@Nibellion) October 4, 2020
Japan has always used the O button to confirm actions in either games or on menus, and the X button to either cancel or go back. This has been the case since the first PlayStation console was released and has to do with Japan treating the O and X symbols to represent correct and incorrect decisions respectively. The rest of the world though has been following a swapped layout scheme. PS5 will hence break that tradition in favor of a unified controller scheme where all countries use the same X button for confirmations.
Interestingly enough, a firmware update released last year for PS4 actually allowed Japanese players to remap their select button from O to X on Japanese consoles. The move was optional but perhaps its feedback convinced Sony to roll out a nation-wide update in the case of PS5. Either that or Sony was just making sure to have the same button layouts on both PS4 and PS5 in Japan.
It should be noted that many Japanese games in the past had hard-coded controls. Hence, someone playing the same game in Japan and the west would have to remember the swapped controller layouts. That should no longer be a concern with the oncoming console generation.