Home abusers will be banned

Sony discusses security.

Home boss Peter Edward has told an audience at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival that users consistently abusing the upcoming Home service face having their machines banned and disabled from being used online, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.

In an admittedly radical but possible step, Edward noted that a serious abuser would "have to move house and buy a new PS3 before they could get online again".

Edward was discussing supervising the Home environment, although Sony doesn't intend to become a "virtual police" force. Instead, it will be providing different areas within Home depending on the age of the user, helping to apply appropriate non-game branding for products such as cigarettes and alcohol.

"Ultimately we know a user's details, we know machine details and we know where they live," said Edward

"If you really feel like you've been abused or that someone has just shown wholly inappropriate behaviour then you are able to complain about it. If you really, really misbehave you can have your console disconnected at a machine level, so you would actually have to move house and buy a new PS3 before you could get online again.

"Clearly that's not something we would want to be doing very often but as a disincentive to mess round too much it's in our power," he admitted.

Rather, Sony expects players to police themselves and other users, taking advantage of various methods for blocking communication with any users that are disruptive.

"It's a hard line to draw because we don't want to be walking around telling everyone off for saying 'bloody' so we've got to strike a balance there," said Edward.

"We're going to be relying on users assessing what's appropriate to them - if they've been subject to behaviour they don't like they can complain about it rather than we walk around as virtual police."

With a presentation featuring potential branding from Durex, Marlboro and Bacardi, Edward said that it's not Sony's intention to offer a sanitised experience, and that more mature gamers can expect to see the same products advertised online as in the real world.

"It's relatively simple to be confident that somebody is over 18. So it's no problem to have areas that are only open to those aged 18 years' and over. We are able to do that quite comprehensively, we have access to the log-in data that they use for the PlayStation Network," offered Edward.

"Undoubtedly there are going to be some things and some brands that we are not going to want to be involved in the environment at any stage.

"But a large proportion of our demographic is over 18 so we will make a point of catering to that demographic - we certainly don't want to dumb everything down to the lowest common denominator," he said.

Keep your eyes glued to GamesIndustry.biz for more Edinburgh Interactive Festival coverage.

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