Video Games

Sony Announces Online ID Change Feature

PlayStation Network Joins 2019

After years of PlayStation Network users imploring Sony to allow them the option of changing their account’s associated Gamertag, the major console manufacturer has at last acquiesced to their players’ request. Sony’s director of social media, Sid Shuman, announced this morning that the online ID change feature will be officially launching for all PlayStation 4 users later today. This feature will be limited to PlayStation 4 owners, and the option will not be available onboard the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita platforms; however, there is a workaround for those users if they log into their account via any web browser on their home computer or mobile device. Some may recall that Sony had initiated a beta test for this long-awaited feature last fall. The beta test came with its own set of problems, and while most of those have been sorted out, the announcement made certain to caution players that by changing their online gamer ID, they do run the risk of interference with certain games that have either not yet been tested with the new feature or have already shown to fully support it. Shuman goes on to state that moving forward (from April 1, 2018) all games developed for the PlayStation 4 platform have been so with the support of the ID change in mind, but as not every game since then, or yet to come for that matter, has been tested, they cannot say with certainty that they’re 100% compatible. He then refers readers to Sony’s list of officially tested titles.

Gamers who are familiar with more than just Sony’s platform are aware that this is not breaking news, nor something unheard of. Early in the Xbox 360’s lifecycle, Microsoft allowed players to change their Gamertags. Players’ first name change was free, with each subsequent alteration netting a cost of $10 US. Sony seems to be following the same formula here, as users’ initial ID change will be at no cost, while additional changes will be $10 US in a similar fashion (PlayStation Plus members will be charged $5 US). Some players will welcome this feature, as many gamers either tire of their older handle or made it when they were teenagers and still thought adding “xX______Xx” or half a dozen numbers into their tag was cool (it never was and still isn’t; sorry). Why has it taken Sony this long to add what one would surmise as a simple feature? Sony’s initial statements on the subject were spotty at best. When Sony of America’s President and CEO, Shawn Layden, was asked back in 2014 about what the holdup was on the highly-requested feature, he answered that the company didn’t want to encourage griefers on the platform who would want to cause problems on one particular game, change their name, and then do the same in another game. If this sounds like nonsense to you, you’re not alone.

Sony, PS4, PlayStation Network

Changing your online ID for PlayStation 4 is a simple process on-console:

  • Step 1: From the main menu of the PlayStation 4, go to [Settings]
  • Step 2: Select [Account Management] > [Account Information] > [Profile] > [Online ID]
  • Step 3: Enter a new online ID or select one of the auto-generated suggestions
  • Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts to finalize the ID change

There are no restrictions to the number of times you may change your online ID, so long as the name does not violate the PlayStation Network terms of service; once changed, you may revert to any previous name at no additional charge. This free reversion is a nice little feature and can prevent buyer’s remorse in the event that you end up not digging your new moniker quite as much as you had hoped (or if your gaming buddies give you endless grief for choosing something stupid). And your previous IDs are locked to your account so that no one else can snipe your name should you choose a new one. Child accounts are not able to change their ID, and it should be stressed that games that originally launched prior to April 1, 2018, currently do not support this feature, including remasters (well, there goes Capcom’s entire library) and “complete editions” (bye bye Bethesda and Square-Enix titles). Users thinking about making this change should be cautioned of the potential risks of doing so (it’s almost like medication with the side effects), which include loss of Trophy progress, loss of SAVE DATA and leaderboard data. Parts of some games and applications may not function properly online or offline, and you might even lose access to content (including any paid DLC) that you may have for your games. So weigh your options and decide if that shiny new nickname is worth the price of admission. Sony notes that should users encounter one or more of these problems after having changed their ID, reverting to their previous one should resolve the issue. Happy naming!

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Andrew Rodriguez

Andrew "Mr. A-to-Z" Rodriguez is a longtime and avid fan of both the video game and comic book art mediums and brings that adoration to Geeks + Gamers as a writer and editor.

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