Why Does the PlayStation Controller Have Triangle, Circle, X and Square?

Since video games existed there’s been the need to make your avatar on the screen actually do things.

At first this was done with simple knobs and joysticks and when video games moved from the arcades to the living room this seemed to be the way things were going to stay... But it wasn’t.

And although many controllers share similarities there’s one that stands out for a very specific reason and that’s Sony’s PlayStation controller.

Why do the PlayStation controllers have triangle, circle, X and square?

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pcz90d ago

its a gimmick. or what you might prefer to call branding.

SilverDemon89d ago

as a non native speaker, those shapes made gaming more accessible to me as a kid. I never knew what ABY(not x) meant and what should I call them since we dont use those shapes in arabic but the PlayStation shapes are simple and understandable for anyone regardless of the language.

KwietStorm89d ago

A gimmick? What cheap feature are they trying to push on us with shapes on the controller buttons?

rainslacker89d ago (Edited 89d ago )

Because symbols are more universal than English letters. They wanted to reach countries other than those that Nintendo and Sega reached, and they felt this would be more accepted in South America, much of Eastern Europe. parts of Asia, and the Indian sub-continent.

fiveby989d ago (Edited 89d ago )

English letters are not necessarily known by everyone. The console is produced in Japan where their written language is completely different. Symbols, such as those they chose, are language independent.

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bf00077796689d ago (Edited 89d ago )

Microsoft: let's put a X button also but on a different place to confuse them.

Silly Mammo89d ago

And let's put the RB/LB at the top of the controller and the RT/LT at the bottom. Genius!

FinalFantasyFanatic89d ago

This always confuses me since I jump between my consoles and handhelds alot depending on what I feel like playing, it's just as annoying anytime I try to connect a PS controller to the PC since it uses Xbox buttons.

YodaCracker89d ago

Even though the PS4 is my primary console this gen, my brain still wants me to hit the square button whenever an “X” prompt appears on screen. All those years with the Xbox 360 controller really drilled into my brain that the X button is on the left.

Aenea89d ago

And Nintendo has the X in yet another position!

What if Google indeed is going to release a competing game console are they going to add it in the position that hasn't been used for an X yet? :)

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Pyrofire9590d ago

Circle is one line, X two, triangle 3, square 4. I figured this out like 10 years ago.

Bretty90d ago

That's not actually the reason though. Although it's a nice theory. Never thought of it that way 😁

DreadGara89d ago

Congrats, you just solved the most and hardest Easter Egg ever made.
Ready Player Two winner.
Seek any looking Gandalf guy so he can share a cookie with you :)

Nu89d ago

The Gandalf look alike I came across today said he needs $100 and was out of cookies

techsquisite89d ago

have you been waiting 10 years for the moment to tell everyone you figured it out?
i kid. kudos to you. it may not be the prime reason, but im going with it. much cooler.

blackblades89d ago

Is it sad that I just found that out just now after decades of gaming on playstation.

CorndogBurglar89d ago

No. Because so did I lol

And technically we can't even say we "figured it out". Someone had to show us.

rainslacker89d ago

That's pretty clever really. Although not the reason. I think Sony addressed this back before they launched the PS1.

mkis00789d ago

Wow, just noticed that myself. I wonder if it is a coincidence.

GoldeneyeOO789d ago

Wrong. Watch the video starting @3:15. Enlighten yourself there, Einstein.

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TheEnigma31390d ago

I always thought it was just a quarky Japanese idea. I definitely was a different take on buttons and made PS controller synonymous with gaming.

rainslacker89d ago

I remember when it first came out I didn't like it because I was so used to AB and XY, and sometimes CZ from Sega and some Nintendo controllers. Now its second nature though.

TheEnigma31390d ago

I bet Nintendo regrets backstabbing Sony now. Nintendo helped creat this juggernaut And to think MS and Nintendo is shaming Sony into crossplay.

gangsta_red89d ago

Is this the story of why they use shapes on their buttons?

CorndogBurglar89d ago

For some reason I don't think Nintendo is particularly hurting...

TheEnigma31389d ago

Not hurting, but i;m sure they wish they had over 50% console advantage instead of sony.

nicsaysdie89d ago

This article doesn't tell the whole story. There was stabbing on both sides. But I'm glad it ended up with us having the Playstation brand. Think of where we'd be without it.

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2pacalypsenow90d ago (Edited 90d ago )

Triangle = point of view
Circle = cancel
X = Enter
Square = A Map/scroll

TorpeAlex90d ago

Except it was designed in Japan, where circle is the standard button to confirm things and X is cancel. It makes sense if you think about how you close windows in literally all other electronics (click the X).

2pacalypsenow90d ago

Yep Metal gear solid was like that until the 4th one.

yeahokwhatever89d ago

Final Fantasy 7's default controls had O as select, as well.

NecrumOddBoy89d ago

And Kingdom Hearts used classic JP controls

FinalFantasyFanatic89d ago

Again, I temporary get confused jumped between my imported games and my native copies of games, lol, cultural differences.

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Gardenia90d ago

In some Asian counties Circle means yes and X means no. That's why in some older Japanese games the Circle and X are still set to the confirm and cancel buttons while normally in the west those two buttons are the other way around

FinalFantasyFanatic89d ago

I can confirm this is still common practice if you import any games from another region.