PlayStation Party monitoring stirs up controversy in gaming community

   The gaming community may be in trouble. On October 14, Sony released the PlayStation software update 8.00, which brings an update to avatars, parental controls, and new chat and message features. There has been a stir in the PlayStation community about these new party chat features in particular. 

   When players logged in on October 14, the message, “Voice chats may be recorded for moderation. By joining, you agree to be recorded,” showed up on screens. Many PlayStation users took to Twitter to discuss their displeasure. 

   A party on a gaming console is similar to a group phone call. Players can invite others to a party, and chat with them online through the console. All that is needed is a microphone and speakers, which is why gaming headsets often come with a built-in microphone. This is how you play video games with other people and communicate with your friends and teammates while you are playing. 

   PlayStation Party online slander has not stopped there. Many videos have gone viral on Instagram and Tik Tok making fun of Sony and the possibility of them selling conversation data to other countries or using it to rig the election. This news isn’t aging well after the release of the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix, striking fear of this very situation into its viewers. Sony has also decided to roll back some of this update, but only the visual effects. The new party system also makes it more difficult to create a party chat and only allows people to join through an invite.

   According to students at Broughton, the general consensus is bad.

   “It’s the worst update in PlayStation history. I can’t invite my friends multiple times when they don’t join, it is slowing down my PlayStation because it creates a new message every time,” said Jacob Grimes, referring to the message you receive when you send an invite, or when someone joins an invite.

   Sophomore Cooper Warwick commented, “The new PlayStation Party chat system has been very frustrating for me and my friends. There is no longer a public party feature in order for any of your friends to join, you must first add them to the party with the people you would like to be able to join.”

   After hundreds of people signed petitions to roll back the update, Sony released a statement about the party chat recording which helped to lull the turmoil. “Voice chat recording for moderation is a feature that will be available on PS5 when it launches, and will enable users to record their voice chats on PS5 and submit them for moderation review. The pop up you’re seeing on PS4 right now is to let you know that when you participate in a chat with a PS5 user (post-launch), they may submit those recordings from their PS5 console to SIE.”