For many years, a feature that's consistently in the top requests from PlayStation users is the option to change their PSN name. For a lot of gamers, that 'hilarious' PSN ID they came up with in their youth is now just embarrassing and no longer amusing, or perhaps they want to change their PlayStation persona to match the rest of their online brand. Thankfully, this has finally become a reality with Sony rolling out the PSN Online ID Change feature - however, it's not a perfect system and there are a number of caveats to consider before making the change, especially if you plan to carry on playing older games. For that reason, we'll outline the considerations to help you decide if it's worth the possible risk.
A post on the PlayStation Blog runs through the details of how the PSN Online ID Change feature works, which we'll break down below. Note that although there has been extensive testing undertaken, the effect of a PSN name change cannot be 100% predicted in all situations - Sony have made a list of tested games available along with their compatibility with PSN Online ID Change, which may help you decide if you want to go ahead.
How can I change my PSN name?
There are two ways to change your PSN name - either through your PS4 or a web browser. On PS4, navigate through Settings > Account Management > Account Information > Profile > Online ID then enter your chosen Online ID and follow the prompts to confirm availability and make the change. On a browser, sign in to your PlayStation Network account then select PSN Profile. Click the Edit button by your Online ID, then enter your chosen Online ID and follow the prompts. It is not possible to change your Online ID using a PS3 or PS Vita.
How many times can I change my PSN name?
You can change your PSN name as many times as you like, however only the first change will be free. After that, each change will cost $4.99/£3.99 for PS Plus subscribers or $9.99/£7.99 for non-members. You will also have the choice to display your old PSN name alongside your new one for 30 days if you want friends to recognise you, but you can only enable or disable this feature when you make the actual name change - after that it's locked.
Are there any potential issues with changing my PSN name?
Sony says PSN name changes will be fully compatible with all PS4 games published after April 1, 2018, and the "large majority of the most played PS4 games" from before then as well. It does warn that not all games and applications for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita will support the change, and you may encounter some issues using them with a new PSN name - these can range from simple problems such as your old ID still being visible or game accounts being unlinked, right up to critical issues such as loss of in-game currency, game and trophy progress, or user-generated content. Some of these issues can create permanent game errors or loss of data, so it's worth considering the impact before committing to a change.
Can I change my PSN name back to the old one?
Yes, you can revert to your old PSN name at any point for free, as long as it doesn't break any of the PlayStation Terms of Service. This should be useful if you encounter problems with an older game or application, or if you simply decide that you liked your old name better than the new one - you won't get your money back if you paid for the name change, though. To revert back to a previous ID, contact PlayStation Support directly.
Can I merge my old PSN name with a newer one?
If you weren't able to wait for this feature to launch and already set up a new account with a different PSN name, you won't be able to do anything to merge the two PSN names or update your old account to your new PSN name. Because the option is there to revert to your old PSN name at any point, even if you changed the PSN name of your newer account to something else you wouldn't be able to update your old account to the newer PSN name.
While you're considering changing your Online ID, why not make sure you get the most out of the features you have now with our PS4 setup tricks and tips guide, or check out the best games you can play on PS4 in our video below: