playstation network

Do you remember what your first Twitter handle was?  Or maybe what name you used when you first got that Hotmail account back in 2001?  If you were like me, you used some kind of obscure musical reference that no one under the age of 30 would understand today.  Obviously, there are a lot of people out there who used their actual name, or some kind of variation of it.  Which means that you could still use it today.  That isn’t the case for me.  You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this.  Well, Sony is hinting at the fact that soon you might be able to change your network name in the near future.

That means, if you registered your name back in 2006, it might be outdated now.  It might also be embarrassing, actually. Users have been begging Sony to be able to change their PSN names for a long time now.  Sony brushed off this suggestion until recently.  At PlayStation Experience this weekend, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Shawn Layden, finally hinted that the feature could be coming very soon.  Finally!  How happy does this make you?

playstation network

Why has this taken so long though?  Sony has an interesting response.  They prevented it for so long because they didn’t want to encourage trolling.  This is a huge issue right now everywhere on the internet.  I’m impressed that Sony was able to think this out in a way that showed they were future proofing the gaming culture.  This is what Sony had to say:

“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?”

But this isn’t a difficult thing to figure out, is it?  Microsoft already offers a solution to this issue.  Their offer was to allow a user to change their name once, for free.  Which would alleviate this issue of having a silly username since you were 20.  That said, subsequent name changes would be subject to a fee.  This is actually a really simple fix, isn’t it?  I mean, this doesn’t completely prevent trolling, but it does give the user the option to make a name change.  Is this what Sony is going to roll out?  If yes, I think this could be beneficial.  However, I am not a fan of “copying” your competitor, so I do hope they come up with something new and innovative to this problem.