Sony has taken the drastic step of making users agree to a new set of terms of conditions if they wish to continue using the PlayStation Network (PSN), with clauses that prevent users from taking part in class action lawsuits against the company.
Something called "Binding Individual Arbitration" has been added to the updated terms of service, which users must agree to before being allowed to continue using the PSN. The terms state that "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".
In other words, PSN users will have to try and settle matters with a Sony appointed arbitrator before they are allowed to join a class action lawsuit. Gamers can only opt out of this new provision in the terms of service by sending a letter to Sony HQ in Los Angeles, but still must first agree to the terms if they wish to continue access the PSN service (the letter must be sent within 30 days).
Critics have complained that details of this change has been "hidden" in the text heavy EULA that most people simply agree to without reading, especially if they were on their way to access PSN services, such as online multiplayer gaming. Some also complain that the opt-out method has been deliberately made more difficult than it can be, with no online method for users to reserve their right to take part in class action lawsuits unhindered.
The updated PSN terms is being rolled out in Europe and America, although Australian users may be spared with Sony spokesperson confirming no changes to the Australian PSN terms are planned.