It's been a surprisingly rough week for the Consumer Experience team at Sony.
It started with the PS4 Update 8.00, which included a pop-up warning that the PS5 could record voice chat for players to then use as evidence in reports for abusive behavior.
This caused a firestorm, and more than a few memes, that Sony has since been trying to smooth over and explain.
Sony aren't listening
In a statement by Catherine Jensen, head of the Global Consumer Experience division at PlayStation, the system the PS5 will have was once again outlined.
She also issued an apology for the way the feature was communicated to the PlayStation community.
"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."
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It's clear that Sony does not intend to collect every piece of voice chat on their network and monitor it for inappropriate content. Of course, that doesn't stop people worrying about security breaches or malicious actors that could abuse the system.
What can players report?
Sony is making an admirable effort to reduce abuse over voice chat. The state of chat has become so notorious that most players simply mute all mics in team games.
Jensen's statement cleared up what players will be able to do. Though we don't think it will calm the worries of some.
"If a PS5 player needs to file a harassment report, they will be able to include up to a 40 second-long Voice Chat clip in their report — 20 seconds of the main conversation with the other player, plus an additional 10 seconds before and after the conversation selection.
Only the most recent five minutes of a Voice Chat will be available for a player to use for this reporting function."
There is the kicker. While the voice chat clip will be strictly for reporting harassment, the DualSense will have the last five minutes of chat available. That rolling record file must exist somewhere for Sony to access should they wish.
Sony isn't actively listening to your squad direct Warzone strategy or your gloating as you beat a friend at FIFA. But they are recording everything, albeit for only a small time.
Players also won't be able to turn off the function.
"There won’t be an option to opt-out of this 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."
It looks like you are stuck with Sony recording if you want to use in-game chat...
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