Following the controversy surrounding the PS5’s voice chat functionality–and Sony having to clarify that it would not be recording your voice through the console–the company has offered an apology and a better explanation of how chat is going to work on the system.
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, SIE VP of Global Consumer Experience Catherine Jensen said that the voice chat recording function will be used for players to report harassment while playing games. The most-recent five minutes of a voice chat will be available to players to record and send to Sony’s consumer experience team to make a decision.
The notification players see that lets them know they may be recorded is likely a matter of legality. In certain regions, including some parts of the US, it is illegal to record someone’s voice without their consent.
“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 said. She added that users will not be able to opt out of this feature in order to ensure that everyone is held accountable if they are being abusive online.
So there you have it: Sony isn’t spying on you with the PS5. Microsoft ran into similar controversy at the start of the Xbox One’s lifespan because of its Kinect voice functionality, which listened for a voice command to turn on. Microsoft has since discontinued Kinect and unlike Sony, isn’t even offering a camera for its console at launch. A lot can change in seven years.