You Can Now Change Your PSN ID – But Here’s Why You Really Shouldn’t

PlayStation

Back in October last year, Sony announced that it was finally allowing PlayStation users to change their PSN IDs.

It’s a feature that’s long been requested by players, and one that Sony has been pretty elusive about over the years. But from tomorrow, it’ll finally be a feature that’s live.

But just as we wrote back in October, changing your ID is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It’s not compatible with all games, and there’s a very good chance it’ll cause you some problems.

Users can change their PSN ID as many times as they want, but only the first change will be free. After that, it’ll cost £7.99/$9.99 each change for standard users, and £3.99/$4.99 each change for PlayStation Plus members. The change can be made from the Settings menu or the Profile page on your PS4. But there’s a catch, and it’s a pretty big one.

Only PS4 games published after 1st April 2018 fully support the PSN Online ID Change feature. Older games may throw up issues – and as Sony published on the PlayStation blog today, there’s even been an instance of a game published after the promised support date that doesn’t fully support the feature:

“We do want to take this opportunity to clarify one point – as a result of the preview program, we’ve found an instance where a game did not fully support the feature, even though it was originally published after 1st April, 2018, contrary to what we mentioned in our original announcement . All PS4 games originally published on or after 1st April, 2018 have been developed to support the online ID change feature, but there may be cases where a game is not fully compatible.”

Sony has published a list of games with no known issues, along with those that have been identified as having issues, but the list is by no means exhaustive. It contains 410 games at the moment – Wikipedia cites that there are 1,941 PS4 games available, so the list covers just over a fifth of those. Of the 410, 366 games have no problems, 34 have “issues identified”, and 10 have “critical issues”.

Issues identified with games include previous online IDs remaining visible to both you and other players, or your ID not being visible at all; PlayStation user accounts becoming unlinked from game accounts; and certain custom settings reverting back to default.

The more critical issues include:

  • Losing in-game currency (whether earned while playing or purchasing as a microtransaction)
  • Losing game progress, leaderboard status and progress towards trophies
  • Losing user-generated content
  • Parts of game simply not functioning properly – both online and offline.

Some of the games causing more minor issues are pretty high profile, too. In Sony’s list, Dark Souls 2 and 3 are both suffering with issues, as is The Last Of Us Remastered, Grand Theft Auto V and Warframe. Since games like GTA V and Warframe have very active online communities, this could be a major issue for players.

Games with critical issues include LittleBigPlanet 3, The Golf Club 2Everybody’s Golf and, interestingly, ONRUSH. Despite the promise that all games published after 1st April 2018 would be problem free, ONRUSH happens to be one of only 10 games causing serious issues… and it was released in June 2018.

You can see Sony’s list of the games affected, and their common problems, here.

Considering only 20 per cent of all PS4 games have been covered in Sony’s list, it’s very likely that there will be a lot more suffering from those critical issues – as well as the possibility that other games will simply throw up serious issues that have yet been experienced. It’s also worth noting that Sony’s guidance only covers PS4 games – if you use PS3 or PS Vita, it’s unknown how changing your PSN ID may affect you.

So – it’s great that Sony has finally given us the option to change our PSN names after so long, but is it a risk worth taking? I suppose that depends on how eager you are to leave behind your old moniker. But if you have a hefty library of PlayStation 4 games – especially one containing lots of titles not covered in Sony’s list of tested games – I’d take a serious pause for thought before making the jump. Sony is not making any guarantees that these problems will be fixed. Sure, they might be, but they also might not. So if you do decide to change your PSN ID, be prepared for the possibility that you may lose game progress, purchased items, or simply the ability to play your game at all.