Sony officially announced that, after twelve years and countless user requests, it’s finally allowing users to change their PlayStation Network names. It’s opening the feature to the PlayStation Preview program so certain users can test it.
The rumor that PlayStation was making this long-awaited change surfaced earlier this month, when developers hinted they’d been told to prepare for the change. It was a pleasant surprise, as it’s something users have wanted for as long as the PlayStation Network has existed.
Sid Shuman, PlayStation‘s director of social media, said in the announcement users in the test could change their names as many times as they wished, though with one important caveat:
The first change is free, and changes after that will cost $9.99 USD / CAD. For PlayStation Plus members, it will cost $4.99 USD/ CAD after the first change.
This is very similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Live name change policy: The first time is free, but after that you’ll have to pony up some cash. You also have the option of displaying your earlier name alongside it, so your friends will know who you are.
It’s essentially the exact feature everyone’s been requesting from Sony for years. That said, it’s not a wholly rosy picture. According to Shuman, the change might cause a few problems with certain games:
However, please note not all games and applications for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita systems are guaranteed to support the online ID change, and users may occasionally encounter issues or errors in certain games.
Other remarks made by PS execs over the years have led us to believe the change might be difficult because certain PSN assets are tied to user names. So I’m worried that, in a few months, we’ll start seeing a flood of posts on the PlayStation forums or subreddit in which users are upset about losing game progress, saves, or trophies because they changed their names.
You’ll have the option to revert to your old name if you do have issues, but Shuman’s exact words are that this will solve most issues. Still, a list of compatible games will be available on the PlayStation site, so hopefully users will soon know which games to avoid.
The full rollout of PSN ID changes is due to take place early next year, and the preview test will last until the end of November.