Sony hints that PSN name changes could finally be coming

2 min read


Over time people change, and their tastes change along with them. The things you liked, or the things that defined you when the PlayStation Network launched in March 2006 may no longer be the sort of thing that tickles you in the year of our loot box 2017.

It means that if you registered a name on the service bound to that zeitgeist – say something asinine like StArKiLlEr_360 – your online interactions on PSN may look both dated and silly. Users have been begging to change PSN names for what seems like forever, but Sony’s hand-waved or explained the possibility away. At PlayStation Experience this weekend, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America and Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios Shawn Layden finally hinted that the feature could be coming in the relatively near future.

In a post-PSX interview, Layden hinted that “The elves at the North Pole have been working on it,” adding that the situation is “more complex than you think” from a technical perspective.

In 2014, Layden said that the company was preventing name changes to stop people from trolling others.

“We don’t want to make it so that you can go in, grief a bunch of people in Far Cry, change your avatar, change your username, go into CoD and grief everybody over there. We want to stop that,” he said.

“[We want to do name changing] in a way that’s transparent, but also don’t let people morph themselves, either,” he said. “And yeah, it’s terrible that you have to make decisions on a service sometimes by optimizing around the bad actor. I hate that we have to do that. So we’re trying to balance that between… the 99 percent of users going to have a good experience, how can we help make that happen without giving one more tool to the bad actor to go in and ruin the experience for others?”

Funnily, Microsoft already came up with a solution to that. When the company debuted Xbox Live name changes, it offered the first one free (allowing people to finally get rid of the stupid names they used when they were braindead teens), but subsequent name changes on the service required a fee. If people have to pay to troll, they’re a little less likely to do so.

Last Updated: December 11, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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