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Sony, Twitch address inappropriate video streams

In this Nov. 15, 2013, file photo, the new Sony PlayStation 4 is on display at Lincoln Park Best Buy store, in Chicago. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Sony and Twitch, the game-focused streaming Web site, on Tuesday addressed concerns that a new feature in the PlayStation 4 that allows users to broadcast their own gameplay content is becoming a platform for racy content.

Game-streaming through Twitch and UStream is one of the biggest gamer-focused features on the PlayStation 4. In a statement, Sony said that the system is designed to stream game-related content only, and that it is “unfortunate that some individuals may abuse this feature and share inappropriate content.” The company said that its social media partners are “monitoring and disabling users who violate their terms of service, and we are working in full cooperation with them to minimize these instances.”

The company also said that PlayStation users are able to block sub-accounts — such as one that parents might set up for their children — from accessing social media feeds and viewing live broadcasted content on the PS4 system. Parents can do so by heading into the settings menu and restricting the “user-generated media” option in parental controls.

As the game-focused site Kotaku reported, some gamers have used the “Playroom” augmented-reality game to stream inappropriate content, including reports of a husband who broadcast images of his naked wife sleeping on their couch.

In a statement of its own, Twitch did not address any particular incidents, but said that it is “very vigilant about removing non-gaming content” that violates its community terms and guidelines from the site.

Sony and Microsoft are locked in a tight battle for gamers, particularly as the holiday shopping season ramps up. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 haven’t had completely smooth launches; users of both consoles have reported hardware issues that prevent the new devices from functioning. Still, demand for the consoles remain high, with retailers reporting they’re having trouble keeping either on shelves for long.

Both firms reported selling 1 million units within the first 24 hours of their respective launches. Neither has released updated numbers on their sales. Sony may be slightly ahead as its million-console figure was the total for only its U.S. and Canada customers; Microsoft’s total included all of its console’s 13 launch-day markets.

Related stories:

Sony’s PlayStation sells 1 million units on launch day, but faces some problems

Xbox One launches to crowds and lots of hype

Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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