Fans have been begging for the option to change their PlayStation Network names for almost as long as PSN names have existed, and Sony has finally relented. A name change feature will be appearing in an upcoming firmware update, and it’s testable now in a beta update. However, the feature comes with a list of possible side effects that could make a prescription drug commercial seem honest.
Apparenty, changing your name has the potential to break a lot of Sony’s systems. Players “may lose access to content (including paid-for content) that you have acquired for your games,” including DLC expansions and virtual currencies, could lose “game saved data, leaderboard data, and progress towards trophies,” and could even have certain games stop functioning entirely—including games that only play in offline modes. Here’s the full list of disclaimers, as found by ResetEra.
- Not all games and applications for PS4, PS3, PS Vita, and other PlayStation systems support the Online ID change feature.
- If you change your Online ID, you may lose access to content (including paid-for content) that you have acquired for your games, including content like add-ons and virtual currency.
- You may lose your progress within games, including game saved data, leaderboard data and progress toward trophies.
- Parts of your games and applications might not function properly, both online and offline.
- Your previous Online ID(s) may remain visible to you and other players in some places.
Sony added a few qualifiers to try and make this system sound a little better, but it doesn’t help much. Games that have released recently should support the change without problems. However, games that are a little older or less supported—such as indie games that launched in 2013 when the PlayStation 4 was new—are highly susceptible to suddenly losing all memory of a player’s save data or rescinding a player’s paid-for DLC.
Even worse, while players will have the option to revert their name changes back, this won’t fix any issues that may occur. Sony’s page explains that players “may not recover all or any lost content, progress and functionality” upon changing their names, meaning that any data lost in the process of the initial change will be gone for good.
While players will get one free name change upon the launch of the update, many players may want to steer clear of changing their PSN names until some of these features are ironed out (if that’s even possible). Since the update is currently in beta, there’s also slim chance that Sony may iron out some of the worst-offending bugs caught by beta testers before the update goes live to everyone.
The name-changing feature is expected to roll out to all users in early 2019.