Try our new beta! Click here
Submitted by AliTheBrit19 1920d ago | article

What Do The PlayStation's Circle, X, Square, and Triangle Buttons Mean?

Teiyu Goto, a Sony engineer who had much freedom to design the original PlayStation as well as its controllers, actually explains that the PlayStations' iconic button shapes weren't just arbitrarily picked—they actually mean something. (Culture, PS2, PS3, PSP, Tech)

Alternative Sources
« 1 2 »
DasBunker  +   1920d ago
#1 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(54) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
GreenRingOfLife   1920d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(14)
UnSelf  +   1920d ago
sony thinks everything through

Sony: "Good Bubbles, good boy"

Me: "*panting*"
2FootYard  +   1920d ago
You're truly there whipping boy.
rumplstilts  +   1919d ago
If you read the article you'd know that Sony was opposing the design but the wise designer stayed true and didn't let them change it.
Shang-Long  +   1920d ago
Gotta admit that's creative too the max. I never would have thought of that
ChickeyCantor  +   1919d ago
You are just not creative...LOL.
UnSelf  +   1920d ago
fkin brilliant lol
Davoh  +   1920d ago
1st console = xbox
2nd console = xbox 360
3rd console = xbox 360 Triangle?
terrorofdeath  +   1920d ago
OMF lol, nice find :)
rCrysis  +   1920d ago
in greek, delta IS a triangle.

Xbox Delta o__O
Moentjers  +   1920d ago
they shouldn't have used the [O]

O = red ring of... ?
Foliage  +   1919d ago
They obviously stole the green from the triangle, so they did copy every button.... :P

Unfortunately Red is a more common 360 colour, since... well... you know...
#1.4.6 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
Montoya  +   1920d ago
Pyramids, Saturn, The Sun and the Cross.
Mmmkay  +   1919d ago
Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Allah, Krisha, Satan and Frank
#1.5.1 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report
Noble Spartan  +   1919d ago
its a legendary controller, But yeah its gone old now and uncomfortable the triggers are awful trying to copy the superior xbox 360 pad even with the home button in the middle...

Heck there are some ridiculous trigger attachments on PS3 controllers lol

They need a redesign for next one Xbox 360 controller has won awards so comfortable and nice.
No FanS Land  +   1919d ago
what kind of awards did the 360 controller win?

Now I know that the dualshock won an emmy award once.
moparful99  +   1919d ago
Wow the dualshock 3 is the only controller design that has stood the test of time.. Its about as close to perfect as anyone has come.. Only advantage that the 360 controller has is slightly more comfort in the palms but it creates alot of sweat due to more contact... I love my ds3 and I am so pleased with its design...
DasBunker  +   1920d ago
crap double post.. ahem mhhhhh.. that snes controller looks awesome...
#2 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
tiamat5  +   1920d ago
Cool. You learn something new everyday
StarScream4Ever  +   1920d ago
I've learn a new thing today! :D
BornToKill  +   1920d ago
RageAgainstTheMShine  +   1920d ago
ain't that the 6 button Genesis controller?
samoon  +   1920d ago
It's crazy lol, I like subconsciously for some reason knew that. Whenever I play a new game, I almost always know the basic controls. Like I always assume triangle is to change camera etc, X-jump,action etc.

Pure genius.
Shawtymann  +   1919d ago
and when browsing menus X usually means to proceed while O means go back. Yes & No
theEnemy  +   1920d ago | Funny
X - X
[] - Box
O - 360
gamingisnotacrime  +   1920d ago
Shikoro  +   1920d ago
Hahaha, I'm laughing my ass off! :P
PickAShoe  +   1919d ago
lol good one xD
yewles1  +   1920d ago
"I now know who to pinpoint my anger towards for the fact that Sony still has the same basic controller design, a decade and a half later, when Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller is much more comfortable."

*takes hammer to 1up's servers*
nix  +   1920d ago
i swear dude... they just haaate anything about PS.
Darkfocus  +   1919d ago
yewles 1 it's gizmodo who said that not 1up
and the contributor didn't even link the source correctly your supposed to have the gizmodo article as your "via"and the 1up article as your source. the gizmodo article doesn't even have the full interview.
Qui-Gon Jim  +   1920d ago
blame the public
When Sony announced the PS3, they revealed it with a new, very different controller that looked a lot more comfortable. They got criticized to no end for the "batarang" controller and bowed to the pressure by changing back to the traditional design.

Here is that (almost) new design.
mac_sparrow  +   1920d ago
yup, I remember seeing it and thinking "well, they wouldn't change the Dualshock for no good reason".

At the time I worked in a GAME store (urgh) and the amount of people who came in to mention how it looked awful, and said almost word for word the criticisms some sites had listed.

Funny how after about 5 seconds of talking and making them stop to think they agreed with me.
#9.2.1 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report
Qui-Gon Jim  +   1919d ago
I saw one report that an anonymous person who claimed to work at Sony said people really don't know what they were missing out on. The source said that not only was it way more comfortable that the Dualshock, but the sixaxis functionality worked better because the sensors were further apart.

Too bad people were more concerned about the looks of something you never look at, rather than giving it a chance.
#9.2.2 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(1) | Report
corneliuscrust  +   1919d ago
Even Sony knows
That they can make a MUCH more comfortable controller than the DS. DS is just tradition. Too many people can't seem to let go and move on.

The DS design came from a controller that featured the DPAD location as your main movement center. Because there WERE no analog sticks on the original PS controller.

The analog sticks were thrown in where there was room, but the shape of the controller really didnt change. This means you have to lower your thumbs in order to reach the analog sticks. Until you really get used to it, this is an awkward way to hold your thumbs. It is not the most natural/ergonomic way to have your thumbs (especially when you have to hit triggers as well as use both sticks).

It's not that it is a bad design, it just evolved in such a way that the analog sticks were not placed with ergonomics in mind. They were a result of controller design evolution after the analog stick became a popular control method over the old DPAD style.

Sony knows this and tried to rectify it with the boomerang controller. And as unwieldy as it looks, I bet it really was quite comfortable. It was built from the ground up to take all the benefits of the high quality DS buttons and sticks, and house them in an ergonomically designed controller housing. I wish people didn't give them so much flak about that.

I wish sony would release two DS versions, one with the DPAD and left stick swapped and the right stick moved up a bit.

Nothing wrong with liking the current DS design, but it is important to remember how it came to be, and that was with function OVER form. They had to keep the same layout and shape (so as to not alienate their blooming userbase) but add some sticks to add the functionality that the n64 and saturn had in the analog sticks.
#9.2.3 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(3) | Report
raztad  +   1919d ago
"DS is just tradition"

Yeah but it is a tradition supported by the quality of the controller itself.

You are making the DS3 to look bad for reasons I dont share. It feels comfortable, my hands are regular sized still I can use the controller w/o problems.

The only flaw in the DS3, IMO, is how loose the analog sticks are. They can be a pain when playing on high sensitivity maxed out.
#9.2.4 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
corneliuscrust  +   1919d ago
You can't fight ergonomics
It's not a "flaw," the controller design was built for DPAD use. (probably why it has one of the industry's very best DPADs) I'm not saying it doesn't work, or that if you like it you have weird hands or something.

I'm just saying the design was built on a controller that didn't have those sticks at all. They were grafted on. That's just history. That's how the controller evolved. The original design did not anticipate analog sticks at all, the buttons were places in the optimal position for your thumbs to comfortably reach them. The controller was designed well. When they had to add the analog sticks they did what they could, but it was definitely function over form. The most ergonomically logical places to add input mechanisms were already in use.
#9.2.5 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
Arnon  +   1919d ago
Actually you're right. The original Dualshock controller never had analog sticks, and was ergonomically designed for the directional pad. Later on, the sticks were implemented, and caused the controller to not support the same ergonomic design that it was originally intended for.
f789790  +   1919d ago
I wish they would sell a controller with that design. Sure it looks stupid but it looks so nice to hold.
STK026  +   1920d ago
Funny how the guy made the X and O as a No and Yes, yet most games I play use the X as the Yes, and the O as the no. Well, most western games seem to do so. But I think MGS keeps the O as Yes and the X as No.
gamingisnotacrime  +   1920d ago
also Final Fantasy on PS1
kept the O as the decision button
inbetweener  +   1920d ago
On Japanese PS3s, the default yes button is O, and cancel is X, even when scrolling through the XMB.
PirosThe4th  +   1920d ago
My ps3 is japanese! Even on all games will be O as yes as default. It's really strange because the games will say press X for OK but I have to press circle lol.
Sarick  +   1919d ago
Look at it from this perspective.
When you see a target defeated it's X'ed out. A target that isn't is O k..

Like in Uncharted 2 the X over a user means they was killed or knocked out. I can see what X normal would mean no and O would mean yes but if you look at it from this perspective the buttons can still work.

Circle = Open, No, or Deny
Cross = Closed, Yes, or Confirm
#10.2.2 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report
colonel179  +   1920d ago
In Japan the X and O are used backwards. They Accept with O and cancel with X
ShadowJetX  +   1920d ago
Just Snake Eater...
I got really confused when I started up it up for the first time... Maybe Sons of Liberty too, but I've yet to play that one yeah.
saint_john_paul_ii  +   1920d ago
"But I think MGS keeps the O as Yes and the X as No. "
that was immediately changed with MGS4 though. i kinda missed that configuration.

i always get confused when im at the menu screen. it just keeps reminding me of previous MGS games.
mac_sparrow  +   1920d ago
One of the changes I didn't agree with, it was completely unnecessary.
Apart from disappointment at the lack of codec calls and this change MGS4 was flawless.
galgor  +   1919d ago
Ryan Payton is to blame for that change ¬_¬
PS3Freak  +   1920d ago
i think a lot of games on PS2 had it set up like that.
Azerach  +   1920d ago
Cant remember where i heard this but its because the japanese hands are smaller and the thumb rests on the O usually while people in the west have their thumb naturally on the X... go figure.
ChickeyCantor  +   1919d ago
Just like how i used to remember A for Accept and B for Back/cancel.
Most JRPG's back than used A as their primary.( SNES )
#10.8 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Dsnyder  +   1920d ago
Um what?
"It's pretty nice that I now know who to pinpoint my anger towards for the fact that Sony still has the same basic controller design, a decade and a half later, when Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller is much more comfortable."

PS3 controllers are far more comfotable then 360 controllers. Dont even get me started on how many lamps a wiimote has broken but seriously the 360 controllers analongs are in highly unconfortable places for thumbs. The controller itself is way to large and the glossy buttons become slippery when your hands sweat. Fuck the gaming journalist and his deformed hands. 360 fanboys who say thier controller is confortable are obviously in denial.
#11 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(11) | Report | Reply
-Alpha  +   1920d ago
"360 fanboys who say thier controller is confortable are obviously in denial."

Because clearly people all have the same hands you do, anyone with different hands is deformed, and preference is not an option.

How small are your hands btw? I dont get why people say its "too large".

As for the thumb placement, the issue some have with the PS3 analog sticks is that their thumbs hit each other. For me it doesn't happen but I know of many that it happens to.

The PS3 controller IS smaller. Personally I prefer extra room than not enough. I don't think the 360 controller is THAT big for you to not reach around the controller but the PS3 controller can be small enough for people not to have enough room and get cramps. I've never heard anyone complain that they can't function the 360 controller because it is too big, or do yours?
#11.1 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
huzzaahh  +   1920d ago
My only complaint with the 360 controller is the absolutely terrible d-pad. Other than that, it's fine.

In the end, they're both just controllers. They're functional, and that's all anyone should care about. If a controller isn't comfortable and your hands start to hurt, take a break from playing games. That is probably the smart decision.
mac_sparrow  +   1920d ago
Interesting post Alpha.

The thumbs hitting each other isn't an issue if you place the tip of your thumbs on the analogue stick, with your thumbs arched. This is the way it was designed to be used as it allows more control over actions as your digits are flexed.

In regard to the small hands comment, my fiancé is now a gamer and she has small hands. She had to learn to use the DS3 slightly differently to normal. Give her a 360 pad and it'd be camera to the sky time.

Good job with showing Dsnyder to be quite biased in this regard though.

For the record I prefer dualshock but can easily use a 360 pad.
CobraKai  +   1920d ago
I feel they both have their strengths. I like the Dualshock for action games like GOW or Batman AA and fighting games. But prefer to play shooters using the 360.
#11.2 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
peeps  +   1919d ago
"360 fanboys who say thier controller is confortable are obviously in denial. "

oh the irony
ChickeyCantor  +   1919d ago
" 360 controllers analongs are in highly unconfortable places for thumbs."
Disagree, i use a 360 controller for my pc and they feel comfortable.
I like it more than my PS3 controllers.
To each his own.
( yes D-pad is MEH)
#11.4 (Edited 1919d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Microsoft_Spokesman  +   1920d ago
Imagine if we had the d-pad of the controller in the image. Yuck.
Katana Yamato  +   1920d ago
Interesting. I really like the symbols then the old alphabetical buttons (and i'm glad he spaz out on upper management about NOT making it look like the SNES controller).

Though the person who said the Xbox 360 controller is more confortable is an idiot. That damn controller is too damn bulky, the D-pad sucks, i hate the position of the analog stick and the buttons aren't that great. Then again it all comes down to personal preference.

PS Controller Forever though!
BannedForNineYears  +   1920d ago
I thought they were just shapes with no meaning. :D
#14 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Montoya  +   1920d ago
All has meaning.
BannedForNineYears  +   1920d ago
What about life? ~_~
skip2mylou  +   1920d ago
play persona 3 for that answer :D
SOAD  +   1920d ago
What a thoughtful question harrykid. Oh well, back to watching pr0n.
BannedForNineYears  +   1920d ago
I lold.
gamingisnotacrime  +   1920d ago
Sony, please keep listening to your engineers, ignore the media fanboys
"It's pretty nice that I now know who to pinpoint my anger towards for the fact that Sony still has the same basic controller design, a decade and a half later, when Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller is much more comfortable. "

What a loser. The PS one controller was a revolutionary design and pretty much became the standard controller as seen in PCs 3rd party controllers.
The DS3, unlike the 360's controller, is a fully functional controller with D-Pad and all, which happen to be pretty important. Also the DS3 is perfect for ALL GENRES. I play my FPS with it, no prob, RPGs, Action, Heavy Rain.
Love that DS3, it is as great as ever.
IHateYouFanboys  +   1920d ago
cool little story, but i couldnt care less about what is on each button. for all i care they could be labelled 1, 2, 3 and 4. i actually wish all hardware developers would form a standard for button naming, that way multi-platform games controls would map across easier for instructions etc.

having grown up using every controller since the atari 2600 single button joystick, the 360s controller is easily the most ergonomic and best to date. everything about it is perfect EXCEPT for the dpad. the analogues have great resistance and feel, especially with the concave tops. the triggers are perfect, and the face buttons are the right shape and feel. the actual shape of the controller fits your hands perfectly.

the PS3 controller could be *nearly* as good with 3 changes.
- move the left analogue stick to the dpads position and vice versa.
- make proper triggers
- change the analogue sticks to have more resistance, theyre too loose atm, and put concave tops on them. convex just leads to constantly having to reposition your fingers on them.
gamingisnotacrime  +   1920d ago
- move the left analogue stick to the dpads position and vice versa.

- change the analogue sticks to have more resistance, theyre too loose atm, and put concave tops on them. convex just leads to constantly having to reposition your fingers on them.

Both suggestions are wrong. The 360 layout is their thing, no need for that on PS3.
Convex tops allow for more grip all around without the need to have the thumb on top of the analog

If you prefer the 360 controller, goo. but dont expect that the rest of us have to broke the almost perfect design on the PS controller
Microsoft_Spokesman  +   1920d ago
I have to disagree with you, my man. I think the positions of the analog sticks are perfect and as for the concave vs. convex deal, I actually removed the convex analog sticks off my PS2 controller and put them on my 360 controller; it feels as though you can aim faster. However, these are all my opinions and you may have yours.
PirosThe4th  +   1920d ago
I did the exact same thing on my 360 controller.
sayonara89  +   1920d ago
"- move the left analogue stick to the dpads position and vice versa.
- make proper triggers
- change the analogue sticks to have more resistance"

NO, YES and NO. That's why I prefer PS3 controller.
shadow2797  +   1920d ago
The bumper buttons on the 360 controller aren't that great. Sometimes in games, you have to have a finger on the bumber and trigger at the same time(R1 & R2), this works fine on 360. But most of the time you just move your index finger between the two to press either, this doesn't work so well. Because the controller is trying so hard to be ergonomic, I've found that they're not as easy to reach as they should be.

I have no trouble holding either controller. I wish the DS3 had better triggers, and I wish they had more resistance in the analog sticks. I wish the 360 had a better D-pad, shoulder buttons, and analog buttons (no pressure sensitivity? Really?).

At the end of the day, I can use either with ease. I give a slight edge to the 360 controller simply for the form factor and sticks, but both are great controllers.
#16.4 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
huzzaahh  +   1920d ago
So essentially, you just want the PS3 controller to be a 360 controller...
IHateYouFanboys  +   1920d ago
no, im just pointing out ways it could be improved.

do i think the PS3 would be better with a 360 controller? for sure. but thats not what im saying. im just pointing out some flaws in the PS3 controller and what they should do to fix them if they are going to keep using the same 15 year old design.
Tito08  +   1920d ago
@ Ihateufanboys
For some reason that 15 year old design is still around, is because it is most ppl's favorite controller, I agree about the triggers, they should be at least like the PS2, not like 360's, but other than that, the controller is fine, no more changes!!!!!!!!

I used to play games from the old days, but everytime I've being asked to press certain alphabetical button I had to look at the button to press it, with a dualshock I already knew what button to press, maybe that's me since I'm more familiar with the dualshock, but remembering the dualshock buttons takes less time to learn than alphabetics!!!!!!!!
#16.5.2 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(2) | Report
skrug  +   1920d ago
i hate the bumpers(L1 L2) on the 360 controller,

also hate the feel of the face buttons
shadow2797  +   1920d ago
Ever since Sony released the original DualShock on the Playstation, it's become the de facto layout for console controllers. Even the Wii has a mimic version in the Classic Controller.

That says a lot about the foresight and genius of the engineers in the early days of PlayStation. The symbols are great for distinguishing Sony's brand from others, thus making finding the right button much easier (though some of my Xbox friends have a lot of trouble with "X").
Microsoft_Spokesman  +   1920d ago
I think the dualshock if the perfect design. Nice feel and perfect for all games.
#18 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
SOAD  +   1920d ago
I think Sony will make a slight alteration to the dualshock next gen. since shooters are really popular I think Sony will make the L2/R2 more like triggers and the analogs will be depressed on the surface.
Mr Tretton  +   1920d ago
" It's pretty nice that I now know who to pinpoint my anger towards for the fact that Sony still has the same basic controller design, a decade and a half later, when Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller is much more comfortable."


And a very douchey way to end an article.
writersblock  +   1920d ago
I always wondered why some games have o as ok and x as no
Like if you play some japanese games at the menu you press o to accept and x to go back. Which seemed odd, since most games use X as the "positive" button and o as the negative because of where they are placed on the controller
huzzaahh  +   1920d ago
Final Fantasy VII ftw.
skrug  +   1920d ago
All games in Japan uses O = Yes X= No

which makes sense to me lol

"I dont want that *crosses out item*"
"I want that *circles the item*"
TheLastGuardian  +   1920d ago
I'll tell you what they mean
They mean your going to have the time of your life. I've pressed those buttons millions of times in my life.
All_4_One  +   1920d ago
Ok, I think O and X for yes and no makes sense, but what does a green triangle that represents a head, and a pink square that represents a piece of paper have to do with anything? Am I missing something?
Azerach  +   1920d ago
"head" for first person view, "paper" for entering menu... Although these have changed since then with triangle being menu on XMB.
skrug  +   1920d ago
It makes sense to me the O for yes X for no

You have a list of items:
"I dont want that *crosses out item*"
"I want that *circles the item*"
C L O U D  +   1920d ago
Thinking about it now pressing Triangle really does represent viewpoint in Metal Gear Solid games.
duplissi  +   1920d ago
i always liked the fact that the dualshock face buttons werent alpha numeric like all other controllers out there. it helped establish a more unique brand, or attitude.
Claudinho69  +   1920d ago
it means people should get a life, cause it dont mean anythin
RankFTW  +   1919d ago
Well that's where you're wrong, if you read the article you would know that they do mean something.
P_Bomb  +   1920d ago
Classy how Jason Chen couldn't simply report the news, but felt obligated to make a fanboy comment at the end of the article re. his preference for the XBox controller and anger (?!) towards Teiyu Goto's work. This is why videogame journalism is a joke. The inmates are running the asylum.
#26 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
BIGWILLDX  +   1920d ago
playstation rules
Tito08  +   1920d ago
I don't think they need any changes on the controller, other than the triggers!
The US market easely likes to complain at anything, they don't say too much sh!t about xbox because it's Microsoft, since Sony is their main competitor, the supposed "Journalists" from the "media" wants to take shots at everything Sony does, those ppl doesn't do research, all they do is complain and complain and tell Sony what they should do, and when Sony does something right, those "Journalists" find ways to downgrade 'em, it's not too hard to figure out, this supposed article was about the button symbols, the meaning of each button, not about how comfortable the controller was, and at the end he immediately mentioned how comfortable the 360 controller is, useless loser!!!!!!
#28 (Edited 1920d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Dekonega  +   1920d ago
In Asian games usually...
O = Open
X = eXit
Δ = Point
[] = Set

Or this is what I've always thought. I honestly don't actually know. :)

I find it weird that X is used to select and O for closing things in American/European games.
Sheddi  +   1920d ago
well, i see it this way
X O Δ [] are very basic shapes that u can relate to VERY easy...well infact ever since u were small.
and the colors on them makes it even easier.
I just think its because its easier to relate to shapes and colors.
Zuhk  +   1919d ago
This being the case you never have to change them based on region
I mean, they dont have an A, B, Y, and Z in japan or china. but everyone has those shapes
« 1 2 »

Add comment

You need to be registered to add comments. Register here or login
New stories

Lara Croft GO: The Shard of Life, Cave of Fire Walkthrough

5h ago - AppUnwrapper writes: "This is a complete walkthrough guide with videos and relic locations for th... | iPhone

Chronicle: RuneScape Legends Enters Closed Beta

7h ago - Jagex, the creators of the award-winning free-to-play MMO RuneScape, today announced the beginnin... | PC

HotLiked - What the Internet is talking about right now

Now - Kill some time at You will regret it... | Promoted post

17 Best Star Wars Games of All Time

8h ago - Chillopedia: Gaming has exceptionally evolved since the past decade, which is quite evident from... | Culture

Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 3 “The Last Place You Look” Complete Walkthrough

9h ago - Episode 3 “The Last Place You Look” Complete Walkthrough of Minecraft: Story Mode on the PC in 60... | PC

Gamer Gratitude: A Hardcore Thanksgiving Special Column

10h ago - Hardcore Gamer: Thanksgiving is upon us. This is a day we get together with our friends and famil... | Culture