It’s not ‘X’, it’s ‘Cross’ – the PlayStation joypad revelation that’s caused an outrage

Sony has confirmed ‘X’ button on Dualshock controller should be called ‘Cross’ and players are freaking out

In a week filled with furore and controversy in British politics, do not make the mistake of thinking you can escape to video games for respite. There is outrage brewing here, too, and it concerns the X button on the PlayStation controller.

A fortnight ago, Twitter user @drip133 asked a seemingly innocent question above a photo of the joypad: “Do you say ‘x’ or ‘cross’ button?” There were hundreds of contradictory responses, which became increasingly furious as the week wore on. Some insisted that because the other buttons are named after shapes – Triangle, Square and Circle – logically, the “X” button must be called “Cross”; others pointed out that as ‘X’ was the common usage, this was the only acceptable pronunciation.

A cross is ➕, not ✖ you pelicans

Because this debate grinds my gears, I'll finish it once and for all:

- Crosses have the same distance between each stick.
- Crosses form a square.

- Exes don't have the same distance between each stick.
- Exes form a rectangle.

Basic geometry.


If Cross is called X (it's not), then what are you calling Circle?

We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward. I gave each symbol a meaning and a colour. The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one’s head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively.

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