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You can report voice chat on PS5

Sony recently rolled out a new software update for the PS4, and things aren't going so hot. Update 8.00 was meant to introduce several new quality of life improvements, such as streamlining Parental Controls and adding new free avatars. Unfortunately, there have been a few issues with the rollout of this latest update, including a major change that players were not warned about ahead of time.

A recent PlayStation blog post detailed the new features in the update. The one that is causing the most fuss is the latest change to party chats. According to a new note added to the blog post, some users are getting an interesting notification after installing Update 8.00. This notification explains "Party Safety" and warns gamers that "voice chats in parties may be recorded."

This was clearly a point of contention, as well as a cause for some confusion among gamers, which is most likely why Sony added the extra info to the blog. According to Sid Shuman, Senior Director at SIE Content Communications, players are getting this notification because of a feature coming to the PlayStation 5 next month. Shuman wrote, "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."

While the purpose of the new feature is pretty clear, what Sony hasn't properly explained is how exactly this new feature will be applied. Presumably, it means that any PS5 user can start recording voice chat at any time. Then, that person can forward the recordings to PlayStation in order to report violations of community guidelines and the like. It's not clear if PlayStation then keeps those recordings or deletes them after the matter has been settled. Regardless, it doesn't sound like PlayStation plans to actively listen to gamers while they're playing. This is apparently more of a feature intended to help gamers protect themselves from harassment.

Still, the fact remains that Sony put out an update and then mentioned the voice recordings as almost an afterthought. This is presumably because the feature won't actually be implemented until the launch of the PS5. Even so, some folks are little less than enthused by this latest development.

For many gamers, the confusion seems to stem from why moderation would be needed in party chat, which is typically used when gaming with friends. As one person put it, "I can agree with this in public voice chats, but in friends party [it] doesn't make sense, if the person thinks you're offensive, they can just leave the party." To this, another user responded that they thought PlayStation was using this new system as an excuse to collect data from players.

Some people are so iffy about this new party chat feature that they're considering getting a new Xbox instead of a PlayStation 5. Gamers already have plenty of reasons why they might need to wait to buy a PS5; this debacle just seems to add to that list.

All in all, the new update from Sony has been fraught with controversy. To put it lightly, the internet was in an uproar over this latest PS4 update. Even aside from the privacy concerns related to the new party chat recording feature, the update has been a bit of a mess. When Update 8.00 launched, many users were complaining that it was now impossible to get their PS4 friends list to load. Others complained that they could no longer connect their PS4 to the internet after installing the update. This wasn't nearly as bad as Update 7.50 from earlier this year, which effectively bricked a large number of consoles earlier this year. Still, gamers who didn't expect to get kicked off the internet following an update have been understandably annoyed.

Again, the most notable thing about this latest announcement from Sony — and perhaps the thing that is frustrating gamers the most — is the fact that there was no mention of voice recording in the original patch notes. Sony only added the clarification after people began getting upset about it. Regardless of how the new recording function works, that's kind of a big surprise to drop on PS4 and PS5 players.

While it is helpful that Sony has clarified a few things regarding this new voice chat feature, hopefully the company sheds a bit more light on it in the future. Privacy is extremely important to people, and it makes perfect sense that many gamers are put off by this latest announcement.