The inability of PlayStation Network users to change their online names is undoubtedly one of the most philosophically important dilemmas of the modern age. It feels like a strange and slightly archaic policy, whichever way you slice it. Thankfully, in a recent interview, SCEA president Shawn 'E3 Yawn' Layden explained the reasoning behind the system.
Speaking to IGN, the gaffer stated that the decision was informed by issues of online harassment. "We don't want to make it so that you can go in, grief a bunch of people in Far Cry, change your avatar, change your username, go into Call of Duty and grief everybody over there. We want to stop that," he said. "And yeah, it’s terrible that you have to make decisions on a service sometimes by optimizing around the bad actor. I hate that we have to do that. "
While this is definitely a valid line of reasoning, we can think of a few simple workarounds. Namely, we reckon a system similar to the one used by PC gaming platform Steam – in which you have two separate names; an ID which is permanent, and a screen name which is changeable – would be a workable solution. However, that would probably require fairly significant and fundamental changes to the core of the PSN service.
At any rate, the gaffer certainly seems cognizant of the issue, stating that he's always looking for ways to "give you more control across your experience", and that changeable account names are definitely one of those ways. Is this an issue that affects you, or are happy with your PSN name? Shout, shout, let it all out in the comments section below.