by Colin Moriarty

A couple of months ago, I wrote an editorial begging Sony to let us change our PSN names. The PlayStation Network launched in 2006 alongside PlayStation 3, and there’s no way to change your name short of creating a new account, therefore losing all of your purchases, Trophies, friends, and more. (Sony has been known to manually change select users’ names for various reasons, though you’ll lose your Trophies if this happens.)

I brought this topic up in an interview with Sony Computer Entertainment America’s President and CEO Shawn Layden. After all, changing PSN names is one of the single most-asked about features not yet on the Network. His answer surprised me, since he seemed to indicate that technical issues may not be standing in the way, as previously assumed by myself and others.

“The road map for feature extension is very long. It goes from here to Hangzhou in China,” Layden remarked when I asked about not only changing one’s PSN name, but about other oft-requested features like deleting unwanted Trophies. “And all of those things are on there. Yeah, we want to give you more control across your experience and your profile and your presence on the network.”

“At the same time, as you’ll understand, 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.”

When I asked if that issue specifically — the risk of abuse — is what’s holding up the feature being implemented, Layden answered in the affirmative. Transparency in changing your name seems to be the issue at hand.

“[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?”

Here’s hoping Sony figures out this issue so that the many PlayStation Network users waiting to change their names — to pay for the right to do so, even — can get what they’ve been waiting for, many of them for years on end.

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