Playstation’s latest venture, PS Home, is described by Home Service Manager Daniel Hill as “unique compared to anything else in the gaming world.”
A 3D social gaming community on Playstation 3, Home allows users to meet online in a virtual world, where they can watch trailers of new games, play virtual pool and bowling together, and chat to each other via instant messaging.
Just weeks after the launch of the new product, however, Home has received complaints about its instant messaging feature; the text filter does not allow users to type the words “gay”, “lesbian” or “bisexual” when communicating with other players.
Gaming enthusiast Michael Marsh came across the restrictive filter when trying to create a “gay/straight alliance club” on Home.
He said: “By blocking a word like ‘gay,’ which is a preferred term by the gay community, you’re encouraging it as a bad word.
“I can understand if they’re filtering out profanity, but if feel like it’s discrimination.”
The filter also blocks the words “hello” (as it contains “hell”), as well as “Jew” and “Christ”.
Sony, owners of the Playstation franchise, responded to the complaints by saying that the filter was instituted during an earlier test phase, and should have been removed before Home was made available to the public.
Some, however, have claimed that this is not a sufficient explanation.
Kevin Johnson, who was involved in the earlier closed beta test phase of the game, said:
“It’s not enough to say it’s a beta. It was brought to [Sony's] attention before the open beta was launched.”