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10 million PlayStation fans are about to be frustrated

Muscle memory is something a lot of gamers develop while playing their favorite games. Certain actions are taken so often that, over time, players reflexively input the commands they need without consciously thinking about each button press.

You may have experienced one downside to this in the past. When button commands change in a game, or when a menu layout is altered, your muscle memory can fail you and cause you do things you don't intend. PlayStation fans in Japan could soon face this very frustrating issue, as it appears the region will change how certain buttons work on the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.

According to Famitsu (as translated by Japanese developer Kenji Iguchi), all PlayStation regions will move to using the "X" button as the "select" button in menus and games. This won't be a change if you're a gamer in the United States — the "X" button has always performed that function, so you shouldn't expect anything out of the ordinary.

It will, however, affect every gamer in Japan, where the "O" button has been used to select "for the past 26 years," according to Iguchi. You can imagine a world where plenty of PlayStation fans in Japan accidentally back out of menus by pressing "O," when what they really need to press is "X." This has the potential to really annoy a lot of people.

What's worse is that, across consoles and regions, there doesn't seem to be a standard for these actions. It's possible that, if you're in the U.S., you already deal with the consequences of this when switching from your PlayStation or Xbox to your Switch.

Nintendo titles typically use "A" to select, which is placed where the "O" button is on a PlayStation controller, and where the "B" button is on an Xbox controller. There's no word Nintendo will be changing anything, so even fans in Japan who get used to this new way of doing things on PlayStation will still be foiled by muscle memory whenever they pick up a Switch.

If it all sounds like a mess, that's likely because it is one to some degree. If there's one positive to take away from this news, it's that Sony is ripping the band-aid off now so gamers can retrain their brains at the start of a new generation. It would be much worse to make this change in the middle of a console cycle, where the select action could differ based on which game you're playing.

There is one other thing that makes this news somewhat odd, and that's the fact that Sony has otherwise been incredibly quiet about the PlayStation 5. The console launches in mere weeks, yet there's so much gamers haven't been filled in on. No one's seen the PlayStation 5 user interface in action, for instance. Also, very few titles have been shown through live gameplay.

Microsoft sent numerous industry reporters and influencers the Xbox Series X, allowing them to load up games and show interested viewers how that system works. Fans on the Xbox side of things now know how Microsoft's flagship next-gen machine improves titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Final Fantasy 15. There are now numerous examples of how Microsoft's Quick Resume feature operates in the real world.

Sony, however, has done no such thing as of yet. And to make matters worse, Sony has been somewhat cagey on certain aspects of the PS5. Fans still don't know which PS4 games will and won't be backward compatible. It's unclear which PS4 titles will get the benefit of the "boost" feature that enables the PS5 to improve performance. It's still an open question as to how much available storage space players will have available at launch once system files are taken into account.

Just like PlayStation fans in the U.S., those in Japan would undoubtedly like to hear more about the PS5. Getting word that games might disorient them for a period by changing the way some buttons work? That's probably not the kind of news they were hoping for.

There's still time for Sony to drop a wealth of PlayStation info on the masses, however, so all is not lost yet. The PlayStation 5 launches on Nov. 12, 2020, which means Sony has a few more weeks to drum up more hype, release more details, and sell more gamers on making the PlayStation 5 a part of their living rooms. If more comes out about the PS5 and what players can expect from it, we'll be sure to get you an update.