Sony has clarified more details surrounding a controversial new PlayStation voice chat recording feature, first mentioned in its recent 8.0 update earlier this week, after some users were led to believe the company would be actively recording and moderating conversations among private groups.
In a new blog post published Friday, Catherine Jensen, Sony’s vice president of global consumer experience, admits the company “should have more clearly explained why this function was being rolled out.”
Jensen now confirms Sony will not be actively listening in on voice chats whatsoever when the feature launches with the PS5 next month. “Its sole purpose is to help in reporting of inappropriate behavior, including actions that violate our Community Code of Conduct,” she writes. “Please note that this feature will not actively monitor or listen in on your conversations – ever – and it’s strictly reserved for reporting online abuse or harassment.”
“Please note that this feature will not actively monitor or listen in on your conversations – ever.”
Instead, the company says the feature will record the past five minutes of any private voice chat on a rolling basis. That way, if a user encounters harassment or anything they feel violates Sony’s rules around player behavior, they can submit up to a 40-second clip for Sony’s moderation team to review. That will include 20 seconds of the potentially offending behavior as selected by the user, with 10 seconds before and 10 seconds after the selected segment for added context.
“These reports can be submitted directly through the PS5 console, and will be sent to our Consumer Experience team for moderation, who will then listen to the recording and take action, if needed. Some submitted reports won’t be valid, and our team will take this as an opportunity to provide guidance and education,” Jensen explains.
She goes on to say that there will not be the option to opt-out of voice chat recording, because Sony wants “all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it.”