One of the most long-requested features from fans towards Sony has been the ability to change one's PSN ID to something else. Sony launched the PlayStation Network online service in 2006 with the release of the PlayStation 3, and since then, all user's names have been stuck as the name they entered when first signing up for the service. This has led to many unfortunate situations and embarrassment, especially when your ID is something you made when you were much younger. It's a problem that Sony promised to address since last year when SIE Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden stated that there would be an update on progress by the end of 2018. That update has finally arrived, via way of a PlayStation Blog post that gives all the details.
According to Sony, testing for the name change feature is going to start "soon". While it wasn't said how soon, it will likely be sometime this month, as the testing will end in November. If you or someone you know have participated in previous PS4 system software update betas, then you may be chosen for the name change testing; that's the criteria. The PSN ID Change test will be a part of the PlayStation Preview Program, which comes with similar software update previews. During the Program, selected testers will be able to change their PSN IDs as much as they choose. Once the feature is officially rolled out to the general public, this won't be the case. Similarly to Microsoft's name change feature, your first PSN ID change is free of charge. Any ID changes after that first one will cost you $9.99, or $4.99 if you're a PS Plus member. To change your ID, you simply go to the Settings menu on the PlayStation 4, or to your profile page. Nice and simple!
What isn't as nice and simple are the technical details behind the name change. According to Sony, not every game will support the change, leading to some glitches and issues with it. The ID change will be completely compatible with any PlayStation 4 games released after April 1st of this year. Only select games from before that date will be compatible, primarily ones that are more often played than others. This applies to both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita games as well. Sony assures that they'll be putting out an official list before the ID change feature goes public, that way everybody can search through the list and see if their games are compatible or not. If you experience a glitch or issue due to this problem, you'll be allowed to revert to your original ID for free at any time. This should fix the problem, but it sounds like it will be a bumpy road at first. Sony is also including the option to display your old ID alongside your new one, which will more easily allow your friends to recognize you and cause less confusion. If you opt to do this, you won't be able to change that after completing the process.
While testing is supposed to end in November, the official version will drop sometime in "early 2019" for all PS4 owners. Until that time, there will likely be further updates from Sony, so keep an eye out for them. Despite the caveats involved, this feature will likely be a godsend to anyone who's been stuck with a PSN ID they hate. It's a nice step forward, and hopefully, a feature that will be the standard when it comes time for a PlayStation 5. This marks yet another of Sony's moves this year to appeal to fan requests. Earlier last month, the company backed down on their opposition to console cross-play, starting up a cross-play beta for Fortnite that let every user between PSN, Xbox Live, and Switch Online play together. This too will hopefully be a change we see as the norm in the next generation, including with Microsoft and Nintendo. For the full announcement of the ID change feature and testing details, head over to the PlayStation Blog to give that a read.