PlayStation manufacturer Sony has added a clause to its terms of service for its online gaming network, the PlayStation Network (PSN), that waives users’ rights to collectively sue the company.
PSN users slapped Sony with a class-action lawsuit in July after hackers broke into the network and stole sensitive information about more than 100 million PSN and Station.com users — possibly including credit card numbers. The lawsuit cited some confidential witnesses who claim Sony’s network security was inadequate and vulnerable to attacks. Users cannot log into the PSN without agreeing to the new terms of service.
The new clause reads, “any Dispute Resolution Proceedings, whether in arbitration or court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action or as a named or unnamed member in a class, consolidated, representative or private attorney general action.”
That means individuals can still sue the company over breaches of privacy like what happened in the massive PSN hack. And PSN users can still opt out of that part of the terms of service by mailing a letter to the company’s offices in Los Angeles, Calif.
“This updated language in the terms of service is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes,” a Sony spokesperson told VentureBeat. “There is also a section of the terms of service that educates users on how they can opt out of this portion of the terms of service.”
Sony finally brought its beleaguered online gaming network back online nearly a month after hackers were able to break in. Sony laid indirect blame for the PSN’s downtime on hacktivist group Anonymous, which typically rallies a group of loosely connected hackers under moral or political banners. (You can see a timeline for the PlayStation Network outage here.) Lulz Security, another rogue hacking group, also broke into Sony Pictures and compromised more than 1 million accounts.
Sony’s online network is a critical service that competes with Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming service — as well as other online gaming services. There are also 948 games now available in the PlayStation Network store, as well as 4,000 pieces of add-on content for games.