The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on April 12, 2019

Sony is automatically changing offensive PlayStation usernames

Sony is automatically changing offensive PlayStation usernames
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

Earlier this week, Sony finally rolled out the name change option for PlayStation Network users. And gamers who are rushing to change the problematic name they once thought was funny might discover that Sony’s taking the liberty of doing it for them.

An FAQ on the PlayStation site, spotted by Gamasutra, details exactly how this enforced cleanliness will happen. If you attempt to change your PSN name to something another player has reported as offensive, then you’ll be given a name that’s “TempXXXX” (with the Xs being numbers) and allowed to revert to your previous name at no charge. So far, so fair.

But if your existing name has been reported as offensive, then Sony will issue you a Temp name even if you haven’t tried to change it. If you don’t want to be called “Tempwhatever,” then you’ll have to pick a new name (you can find instructions here). According to the PlayStation FAQ, “this type of online ID change cannot be reverted.”

To give you an idea of the kinds of names Sony might not want to see, I refer you to this part of the PSN Terms of Service (emphasis mine):

You may not take any action, or upload, post, stream, or transmit any content, language, images or sounds in any forum, communication, public profile, or other publicly viewable areas or in the creation of any Online ID that SIE LLC or its affiliates find, in their sole discretion, offensive, hateful, or vulgar. This includes any content or communication that SIE LLC or its affiliates deem racially, ethnically, religiously or sexually offensive, libelous, defaming, threatening, bullying or akin to stalking.

The ability to change your PSN name has been requested for almost the entire duration of the PSN’s 12-year history. Now that it’s here, I’m willing to bet a lot of longtime users will want to change their names from an off-color moniker they stopped finding amusing over a decade ago. Players with offensive names would often have their accounts banned outright. But now, Sony will simply suspend your account until you change your name. It’s nice to finally have the option, after all these years.

My one concern would be for those players who experience some of the issues associated with the name change. Sony has admitted that gamers who change their names might lose game trophies, scores, progress, and in-game currency, with nine games having “critical issues” (you can find the list here). The solution Sony’s given if you run into any problems after a name change is to revert to your former Online ID. But if Sony’s already blacklisted your former ID as being inappropriate, it would seem that’s not possible

We’ve reached out to Sony to find out how it would resolve this.

TNW Conference 2019 is coming! Check out our glorious new location, inspiring line-up of speakers and activities, and how to be a part of this annual tech bonanza by clicking here.

Also tagged with