Last week Sony pushed PS4 firmware version 8.00. You might think that updates are tinkering with the end later in the console life cycle, but this patch has caused some warning to the community. Warnings now flash to indicate that chats may be recorded.
Not surprisingly, this caused some warnings among players. Is Sony planning to eavesdrop on all PS4 and PS5 conversations? No, it’s not.
The company has written a blog post explaining the update, and the pros and cons of it are: Sony isn’t actively listening to your chat, but if you say something that violates the PlayStations Terms of Service Anyone who hears it can report you a problematic clip so that Sony can determine if you were off the line.
“We didn’t explicitly communicate or explain why we introduced this feature, and we apologize for that,” said Catherine Jensen, vice president of global customer experience at Sony Interactive Entertainment. “When the PS5 console goes on sale in November, PS5 users will be able to chat with PS4 users, so we had to include an advisory in the latest PS4 system update.”
In short, it’s a PS5 feature that requires interoperability with the PS4. The new console allows players to include a 40-second clip to send to Sony moderation. It consists of 20 seconds of the main conversation and 10 seconds on both sides of the context. Players can only send clips for the last 5 minutes of voice chat, so they need to respond very quickly to harassment.
Once submitted, Sony moderators will listen and take action as needed, even if it is an action that notifies the player sending the report that no violation has occurred.
The point here is that Sony is not a proactive solution that actively listens to abusive behavior. “Please note that this feature does not actively monitor or listen to conversations and is strictly reserved for reporting abuse and harassment online,” Jensen wrote. ..
For fairly obvious reasons, there is no way for players to opt out of this. If abusive players can opt out of records, they can be as aggressive as they like, with no record of their actions and no way Sony can take action.
Some people are concerned about the impact on privacy, but that doesn’t seem like a big breach to us. Some form of accountability is important if you are playing with strangers. We know that anonymity can be the worst for players, and that toxic environments can make online games miserable for everyone. Hopefully, this small change will make online gaming on the PS5 a bit more enjoyable than past hardware generations.
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