In the digital age, just about everything we do can be monitored. It’s a fact of living in a modern era where everything is connected to the internet, that some privacy is going to be lost in the process. It seems that there is a new story about a major corporation encroaching onto a consumer base’s privacy by the day. The gaming industry has had to tackle this issue several times before such as when the PlayStation Network was compromised and more recently when there were worries about how the Xbox One could monitor its users. At E3, some held Sony up as the opposite side of the coin, supporting consumer rights and options.
With just two days to go until the PlayStation 4 hits it has now been revealed that Sony might not be the paragon of consumer advocacy that some held it up as.
According to their new terms of service (via CVG) Sony will have the ability to monitor “any and all” user activity.
In Sony’s Software Usage Terms it is asked:
“Are we monitoring PSN?
Yes but we can’t monitor all PSN activity and we make no commitment to do so. However, we reserve the right in our sole discretion to monitor and record any or all of your PSN activity and to remove any of your UGM at our sole discretion, without further notice to you.”
While many people fly past terms of services without a glance, they can be full of these kinds of stipulations. For the moment, this seems to be an exclusive policy for the PlayStation 4 as other consoles don’t seem to have put this kind of condition into their customer agreement.
With Sony also being held up as pro-used games after their famous drubbing of Microsoft‘s then restrictive policies at E3, there is another interesting point in the conditions that has caused some worry:
“You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher.”
It is worth noting that this is nothing out of the ordinary as almost all terms and conditions have a variant of this.
Nevertheless, fans shouldn’t worry too much – as President of Sony Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, clarified the statement on Twitter:
If you are concerned about our new European TOS, we confirm that you are able to sell or share your disc PS4 products, including in EU.— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) November 12, 2013
Where it could become interesting is in the future as it gives Sony the right to cancel their deals with retailers and install something similar to what Microsoft had in place when they restricted used games. There is no indication that that is going to happen but it does give the company some leeway going forward if their position changes. Something worth considering for owners of the new system.
The PlayStation 4 launches on November 14th