Why Sony Won't Let You Change Your PSN Name

PlayStation executive Shawn Layden explains that it comes down to preventing griefing.

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Ever wonder why you can't change your PlayStation Network name like you can on Xbox Live? Now we have an answer, and it comes from a top PlayStation executive. Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Shawn Layden said in a new interview that it's not a technical issue, but rather it comes down to something you might not have expected: trolling prevention.

Layden confirmed in an interview with IGN that changing PSN names and deleting unwanted Trophies are on Sony's roadmap for future updates so that players can have more control over their representation on the network. But at the same time, Layden said changing your PSN name could allow griefers to thrive--and he doesn't want this to happen.

"It's terrible that you have to make decisions on a service sometimes by optimizing around the bad actor" -- Shawn Layden

"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 CoD and grief everybody over there. We want to stop that," he said.

Asked directly if the risk of abuse over PSN name changes is what's keeping Sony from introducing the feature, Layden said this is true. He said it's not ideal that Sony is making policy decisions based on the actions of some bad apples, but this is the reality of the situation, he explained.

"[We want to do name changing] in a way that's transparent, but also don't let people morph themselves, either," 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. So we're trying to balance that between… the 99 percent of users going to have a good experience, how can we help make that happen without giving one more tool to the bad actor to go in and ruin the experience for others?"

Xbox 360 and Xbox One users can change their Gamertags once for free within the first 30 days of setting up an account. After that, users must pay a fee change their online names.

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