Sony has released new details about recording PlayStation 5 voice chats, after the company seemed to be caught off guard this week when it released the latest PlayStation software update 4 and users witnessed the unexpected feature.
“We have not explicitly announced this feature or explained why we introduced it, and we apologize for that,” Catherine Jensen, vice president of Sony Interactive Entertainment for global consumer experience, said in a post on PlayStation Blog on Friday afternoon.
Following the release of the PS4 system software version 8.00 on Wednesday, players began to see a notification and a message on the console about the party chat feature. Titled “About Party Safety,”; the note says, “Please be aware that voice conversations with parties can be recorded and sent to us by other users. By participating in voice chats , you agree that your voice was recorded. “The message also said,” These recordings will only be used for PlayStation Safety and moderation purposes. “
Sony later updated the PlayStation Blog post about v8.00 firmware to identify the message about Party Safety, and explained that the recording feature will be available exclusively on the PS5 when the console launches in November 12. The update also said the feature will allow users to submit recordings to Sony for moderation purposes. But the entire episode raised an eyebrow at the PlayStation community, especially about privacy concerns, leading Sony to publish more details on Friday.
All PlayStation users can file reports about abusive players they have encountered online, but only PS5 users are able to submit a voice chat clip with a report. Jensen clarified that PS5 users and PS4 users can chat with the parties together, which requires notification of the PS4 firmware update on Wednesday for a feature clearly intended by Sony to explain later.
“If a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they can include up to a 40-second Voice Chat clip in their report – 20 seconds of basic conversation with other players, plus additional 10 seconds before and after the selected conversation, “Jensen said.” Only the latest five minutes of a Voice Chat are available for a player to use for this function. “
Enables recording by default on the PS5, and users have no ability to disable it.
“There will be no option to opt-out of the Voice Chat recording function because we want all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it,” he said. by Jensen. However, Jensen stressed that “this feature is no actively monitor or listen to your conversations – ever. ”Instead, the recording capability is reserved only for capturing audio that includes reports of abuse or harassment.
It looks like the PS5 will keep a running record of the last five minutes of chat, but that only one user can start the process of sending audio to Sony. What remains unclear is whether the recording function applies to all voice chats, including in-game chat, or limited to party chat only. (If players hear harassment or abuse online, it tends to come from random people whom they throw in a multiplayer match – rather than someone they invite to a party chat.) We ask by Sony, and we will update this article with any information we receive.
PS5 users can submit these reports directly from the console. They will go to the Consumer Experience division on the PlayStation, where moderators will review the complaint, listen to the recording, and take action if appropriate.
The PlayStation Community Code of Conduct prohibits hate speech, whether using or launching it; threatens, oppresses, harasss, or kidnaps anyone; encouraging anyone to hurt themselves or someone else; or being “vulgar or insulting,” among other policies.
But behavior that is worth a penalty, compared to which can be jerky or bad taste, will not always be a clear case. “Some submitted reports will not be valid, and our team will use them as an opportunity to provide guidance and education,” Jensen said.