We were all waiting for Sony to drop some sort of word that they had some terrible, half-baked idea on deck for their console, and it looks like that shoe has finally dropped: Sony would very, very much like you to have your real name tied to your PlayStation Network, possibly through Facebook.
And that honestly might be almost as bad as having a console with an always-on Internet requirement.
Here’s the exact quote, according to Kotaku:
“[With the] PlayStation 4 we are transitioning to a friends network based on real world friends. We’ll keep around the alias and icon used in today’s multiplayer matches. These are great to have when anonymity is important. But most of the new social dimension to PS4 will be interacting with friends using real names and profile pictures most likely seeded from your existing social network.”
Kotaku goes on to mention a few other gaming companies that tried this, only to fail miserably, and we won’t rehash those arguments here. The potential for stalking and abuse is obvious, enormous, and profoundly serious. Sony needs to stop and review those potential problems carefully before proceeding with this one.
But setting that aside, who in God’s name wants to sign up for yet another service whose sole purpose is to spam your Wall? Because we all know this would go both ways.
Marketing departments have this bizarre idea about Facebook that it’s a place where you only friend people whose opinions and tastes exactly align with yours, and that nobody minds when you post every single thing you do on it. But the reality is, I think maybe ten percent of the people I know are console gamers, if that. They don’t care how I’m doing in Dead Space 3, and telling them would be pointless.
It’s unlikely Sony will make this obligatory: It’s not like you’ll need a Facebook connection to make multiplayer work. But hopefully Sony realizes that in many networks, anonymity is a good thing.