It’s been revealed today that Sony’s upcoming console will utilize the ability for gamers to use their real names online as soon as it launches. This is a point of contention with Microsoft, which also wants to allow owners of their new console to use their real names online, but won’t be offering that option until some time after the console has already launched.
While it’s true that gamers who enjoy being anonymous won’t care about the option, both companies have been speaking about utilizing a real-name option for the simple result of making the online networks more inviting to a wider audience. After all, popular social networks such as Facebook utilize real names, but Sony’s, Microsoft’s, and Nintendo’s current online services only utilize nicknames.
Sony did want to stress that this is an option, not a mandate. In addition, even those who do utilize the real name capability can play online under nicknames, as it isn’t an all-or-nothing scenario.
Will the option of utilizing your real name on PSN and later Xbox LIVE cause more gamers to sign up? Or will the potential pitfalls (for example, moe personal harrassment, though the systems for reporting users could counter this particular pitfall) cause gamers to simply utilize their nicknames?