A lot of things have changed since 2006, when George W. Bush was president, was actually new, and most people knew “Twitter” as just a sound that birds made. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the PlayStation Network ID you chose when you got a brand new PS3 that year—or any time in the past 12 years for that matter.
Finally, after months of hints and rumors, Sony has officially announced that the option to change your PSN Online ID is currently being tested and will roll out to all PlayStation users in “early 2019” (with earlier testing for members of the PlayStation Preview Program).
Users will get one free name change, but subsequent name changes will cost $9.99 per (or $4.99 for PlayStation Plus members). That small cost is meant to discourage scammers and griefers from constantly changing their account name for the purposes of harassment.
The pricing for PSN name changes mirrors that on Xbox Live, which has allowed users to change their Gamertags since shortly after the Xbox 360 was released in 2005. The Nintendo Switch doesn’t let you change your base Nintendo Account username, but it does make it easy (and free) to change the “nickname” that appears to other players online.
While all PS4 games released since April of this year will play nicely with the changed IDs, Sony says that “a large majority of the most-played PS4 games that were released before this date” will be compatible. If users run into any problems with older games after the change, they’ll be able to revert to their original name for free as many times as they need. PSN users will also have the option to show their old ID alongside the new one, to make the transition more visible to online friends.
It’s hard to remember now that the PS4 also launched without support for features like external hard drives and DLNA media streaming, both of which were added in subsequent post-launch updates. But the PS4 is still the only PlayStation home console that can’t play audio CDs. Where’s the love for our near-defunct physical media formats, Sony?