It’s been one of the most popular quality of life requests for years, but Sony finally seem to be formally considering allowing users to change their PSN name.
In an email forwarded to PushSquare, Sony said that they are “exploring the possibility of adding a feature to PSN that lets users change their ID”, noting that although they “can’t be sure whether this feature will be added or not,” players’ feedback “will be heard”.
The survey that they sent out then detailed a hypothetical implementation of the feature, where users would be able to change their name for free as many times as they like, but only once every six months.
In the past, Sony has had reservations about letting users change their online handles, citing griefing as a primary concern.
“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.
“[We want to do name changing] in a way that’s transparent, but also don’t let people morph themselves, either.
“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?”
Sony looked to be laying the groundwork for the feature in 2016 when they asked developers to allow users to be identified by their Account ID rather than an Online ID. This would mean that players could have a base account ID that stays the same, leaving their online ID free to change.
This proposed system does seem to tick all of the boxes. People in their 30s can be rid of the PSN IDs they made in their teens, while trolls can’t flit from game to game assuming a new identity each time.