Sony asks gamers to sign new terms or face PSN ban
Sony is preparing to ban gamers from the PlayStation Network (PSN) unless they waive the right to collectively sue it over future security breaches.
The firm has amended PSN's terms and conditions and users have to agree to them next time they log in.
The move comes months after a string of hacking attacks compromised over 100 million accounts of the PlayStation Network subscribers.
It is, however, possible to opt out of the agreement within the next 30 days.
Gamers will now have to try to resolve any legal issues with an arbitrator picked by Sony, before being able to file a lawsuit.
The new clauses, dubbed "Binding Individual Arbitration," 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".
The re-written terms and conditions are being presented to gamers when they log in, but some have questioned who will notice the changes.
Tech news site The Register wondered who would notice the small print outlining the opt-out terms, and not simply click the "agree" box having scrolled all the way down.
Those that want to opt out will have to send a letter to Sony's Los Angeles headquarters in the US.
Once they do, the subscribers will be able to keep their right to file a class action lawsuit without any need for arbitration.
But before subscribers have a chance to opt out, they will still be required to agree to the new terms the next time they log into their accounts.
Otherwise they will not be able to use the online services.Attacks and apology
A class action lawsuit filed against Sony in April after the first attack, in which the details of 77 million users were stolen and PSN went offline for 40 days, could end up costing the Japanese electronics giant billions of dollars.
Sony Online Entertainment, the company's computer games service, was also hit, as well as the Sony Pictures website, exposing personal information for 25 million more accounts.
In addition, personal data of 2,000 consumers was stolen from a Sony Ericsson website in Canada and details of 8,500 users were leaked on a Sony Music Entertainment website in Greece.
Some time later, a group called Lulz Security claimed to have broken into Sonypictures.com.
Sony has since apologised over the security breaches and offered compensation packages.