In Its First Week, PlayStation 4 Played Host to Apparent Sexual Abuse

What Women Really Think
Nov. 25 2013 4:02 PM

In Its First Week, PlayStation 4 Played Host to Apparent Sexual Abuse

Sony might need to make some changes to its new Playstation 4 game Playroom.

Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The Playstation 4 has only been out a little over a week, but Kotaku reports that users have already figured out a way to ruin a virtual reality game called Playroom, which uses the console's camera to film you in your living room and impose, onscreen, virtual objects, which you and others viewing you can "play" with. Playroom is supposed to be used for playing games, but gamers are an ingenious bunch, and some swiftly started using it for more exhibitionist purposes, including creating a call-in TV show. Most people who went off-script with Playroom did so for harmless pranks, but it seems one man has already put the service to use broadcasting what appears to be sexual abuse. Game Revolution reports:

And then there's Darckobra. He and his wife sat on a couch drinking, and drinking, and drinking. Eventually, the wife passed out. So the man did what any man deserving of divorce papers would do: he showed the internet some breast — and not his own. Yes, live on Twitch TV, via The Playroom on PS4, a man lifted up his unconscious wife's shirt and exposed her breast. After 15 or 16 post-boob minutes, the channel went dark briefly; upon its return, the wife was completely naked, presumably stripped by the husband.

This is more than grounds for divorce. If what it seems like happened actually happened, then it's a form of domestic abuse. As with the problem of revenge porn, it's hard to say how and if the law should get involved, but it's important not to downplay the seriousness of the incident. 

Luckily, Twitch, the company that runs the livestream of people in Playroom, immediately suspended the man's account, but as Owen Good at Kotaku notes, the larger problem here is that there isn't really a way to prevent such content from getting out in the first place. Good's main concern is that children tend to use game consoles like the PS4 more than they do other gaming services with streaming video, like PCs, which means if people are getting naked onscreen, kids might have a higher chance of seeing. That's an important issue, but it's equally important to point out that if someone thought it delightful to use the service to broadcast an apparent sexual assault within the first week, Sony and Twitch may have a much bigger problem on their hands.

Because most people keep their consoles in the living room, console gaming lends itself to social occasions much more than PC gaming. Flipping on the console to play games during a party is already a widespread practice. Now that Playroom allows users to project the goings-on in their living room for others to watch, it's unlikely that Darckoba will be the only man who is tempted to stand out from the crowd with on-camera sexual abuse.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 11:25 AM The GOP’s Phantom Menace The Republican Party’s new agenda is trying to solve problems that don’t exist.
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 10:52 AM Bill Hader Explains Why Playing Stefon Made Him Laugh and Why LeBron James Is Funny
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.