Unless you absolutely know someone and would trust them with your life, it’s a bad idea to use one of the PS4’s most unique feature. At least, that seems to be the key takeaway from a new report highlighting a recent incident involving the PS4’s Share Play feature.
An in-depth interview from GameInformer with a young gamer reads like a cautionary tale for owners of the PS4. The piece highlights a recent incident in which the gamer had large chunks of his progress in Destiny completely erased because he used Share Play to hand off control of his console to what he thought was a friend. Share Play on the PS4 allows gamers to get help from their friends and family over the PlayStation Network.
The fifth grader handed over control to his account to a friend over the PlayStation Network because that friend promised to show him a trick that would allow him to level his Destiny characters quickly. The fifth grader watched in horror as his friend deleted two of his characters. Once he realized what was going on, he pulled the power plug from his PS4 and saved his remaining character.
GameInformer was able to chat with the offending account and confirm that it was actually a 17 year-old visiting the house hold who started deleting the characters. In the report he’s called “Chris.” Besides not showing any remorse for having done so, Chris confirms that he’s used Share Play to delete accounts before in other games, like Grand Theft Auto 5. “I’ve done it multiple times. I think three? Four? I thought it would be funny.”
Chris doesn’t show any remorse at all, even for the family the owner of the account that he used to delete the fifth grader’s character. “People get pissed on the internet and say what they want.” He also thinks that the child who had their characters deleted should “Suck it up and move on with his life.”
Moving on is hard to do, since Destiny is a role-playing game that requires tons of investment for each character.
Most are treating this as a cautionary tale, a reason for users to know who their handing control of their account to with Share Play. Many more are seeing the situation for what it really is, a failure by Sony to anticipate a huge problem with a landmark feature.
Revealed last August, Sony meant for Share Play to be used as a sort of virtual couch. It’s used by the PlayStation Network to let friends play co-operative games or hand over control of their character so that someone can help them out of a tough spot. The feature is completely unique to the PS4, and exploits a gap in Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox Live offerings.
Sony’s failure to implement any kind of limits on Share Play makes it ripe for exploitation. Furthermore, incidents of Share Play on the PS4 being used in this manner will increase now that word is out about the mistake. Sony hasn’t announced any plans for taming the feature. Until they do, it’s a very, very good idea to stay away from Share Play entirely.
If you do plan to use Share Play on the PS4, only team up with people that you know. Start a voice chat just to confirm that they are who you think they are. Even if you do those things, enter every Share Play session knowing that someone could delete the character you’ve worked hard to create without a second thought.
The PS4 is available on store shelves now for $399. Bungie, the video game develop who created Destiny, wasn’t able to retrieve the deleted characters, unfortunately.