Well, well, well. You’ve screwed me again, PSN.
The inability to change the network ID I made in 8 seconds and didn’t realise was going to be quite so permanent when I was 17 isn’t a new problem. But as the burgeoning era of the PlayStation 4 approaches its inauguration, it’s become an embarrassing inconvenience that isn’t going to go away.
We have a conundrum.
Should I cut my losses, lose trophies, severe ties with virtual friends and start afresh next generation with a gamer handle that matches Xbox Live, Steam, and even my neglected Wii U? Or do I tough it out, accept whatever my username currently is, and hope that Sony either eventually allows name changes or is serious about this real name business pushing gamertags into early retirement?
People change. But our user accounts, more and more often, do not. Online and gaming IDs need to be able to evolve with us, and the PlayStation Network is one of the biggest culprits for not allowing it.
I’ve just stumbled upon the shameful realisation that I don’t even know what my handle is on PSN (why is it different to the user account I sign in with? — imbeciles!), which tells me I need to change it.
While deplorable for someone who writes about games for a living, I rarely play multiplayer games on PS3, and on the odd occasion I’ve been known to dabble, it’s never been with the 40 or so friends that must have added me five years ago.
So then, we’re settled. I’m happy to become a born-again PlayStation fanboy (I’m thinking of giving the ol’ PS greater prominence next-generation) with an agnate gamer handle across all my platforms.
Only, like trying to remember your super-secret security question about your parents’ wedding anniversary that you definitely never authorised at the bank, it’s not that easy.
What happens to my existing PlayStation Plus subscription? Do I abandon the remaining six months in favour of a network ID that I can actually remember? And how important are trophies going to become? I don’t care about them right now, but that doesn’t mean I want to be mistaken for an incompetent ninny without a trophy history.
This is the problem with old user accounts becoming a mainstay of gaming — and digital life — beyond their intended lifespans. If I had known my 2007 username was going to be carrying weight in 2017, I’d probably have put some more thought into it, and devised something equally ridiculous. At least I would have tried, but regardless that’s why we need an option to be able to change usernames. People change. But our user accounts, more and more often, do not. Online and gaming IDs need to be able to evolve with us, and the PlayStation Network is one of the biggest culprits for not allowing it.
Keeping a seven-year-old derisive PSN ID is like using your Year 9 Hotmail account to manage all of your pertinent financial information. You know it’s not a good idea, but you didn’t do anything about it when there was time. Now it’s too late, and firstname.lastname@example.org is emailing his accountant to explain why her service fees are unreasonable.
Don’t let that happen with your PlayStation identity. Losing trophies and abandoning prepaid PlayStation Plus is an annoyance, but being stuck with a nonsensical PSN ID in 2023 will be a disaster. If there’s ever a time to resolve your childhood blunder, it’s to greet the PlayStation 4.