PlayStation Confirms Controversial PS5 Feature

Sony Interactive Entertainment has confirmed the PS5 will record your voice chats for the purpose of protecting players. This week, PlayStation rolled out a new PS4 update that added a slew of new features and broke PSN for many players. With the new update added, players started to receive notifications alerting them to a new voice chat reporting function. With the feature, players could report verbal harassment directly to PlayStation. More specifically, they could report 20 seconds of the last five minutes of any given voice chat and send it to Sony for the purpose of moderation. According to Sony, this isn't a new feature for the PS4, but it will be a feature for the PS5. Further, you won't be able to turn it off. Sony notes the feature will not actively monitor or listen to your conversations, but all of your conversations will be recorded.

"We believe that it’s critical that gamers be able to quickly and accurately report abuse or harassment if they experience it while on PlayStation Network," said Sony's Catherine Jensen over on the PlayStation Blog. "As part of this initiative, we’ve been preparing to roll out a new feature on the PS5 console that enables gamers to report verbal harassment through a new voice chat reporting function. Its sole purpose is to help in reporting of inappropriate behavior, including actions that violate our Community Code of Conduct. 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."

Jensen continues by noting that on PS5, if a player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40-second-long clip in their report, which includes 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the clip, which would presumably be provided for context. That said, when filing a report, players will only be able to go through the most recent five minutes of said voice chat.

Once captured, the reports can be submitted directly via the console where they will be sent to a Consumer Experience team for moderation, "who will then listen to the recording and take action, if needed." Of course, not every report will require an action, but Sony does note it will take "this as an opportunity to provide guidance and education." That said, for now, it's unclear if players will be punished, but you'd assume voice chat bans or PSN bans would be on the table.

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Jensen continues by noting there will be no opt-out option because Sony wants "all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it."

"Thanks for reading, and I’m hoping this gives you a better idea about our goals for this new function," concludes Jensen. "We appreciate your support, and want you to know that our team will always work to create a positive experience on PlayStation so you can focus on playing great games and having fun with your friends."