PlayStation Network accounts will soon be no more.
In a move toward unifying its online services, PlayStation Network accounts are changing to Sony Entertainment Network accounts. "This helps us get closer to our goal of establishing a global comprehensive network platform of services across games, movies, music and more, all accessible from one convenient account," the company said in a statement.
The change is in name only, and users of the service will not have to worry about changing their username or password. A software update for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita will arrive tomorrow to usher in the rebranding, but oddly, this change is not occurring for the PlayStation Portable (PSP).
A Sony rep explained the somewhat confusing change to CNET: "To clarify, the PlayStation Network brand will still be intact following the firmware update expected tonight. The only change is in the name of the account, from 'PSN account' to 'SEN account,' a change that will unify things with a single login for use across multiple SEN services and connected devices. Following the firmware update, PS3 users will still see the PSN logo upon sign-in, experience the PlayStation Store, etc."
The PlayStation Network made its debut with the launch of the PS3 in November 2006. During the next few years, Sony launched the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Home, and PlayStation Plus on PSN. Despite tough competition from Xbox 360's Marketplace, Sony's gaming network expanded to 60 countries and offers many commerce and entertainment options.
Things sailed smoothly for the PlayStation Network until April 19, 2011, when Sony publicly acknowledged that hackers gained access to personal information in 77 million accounts.
The sheer scope of the hacking scandal--which compromised the personal information of millions of consumers across many divisions of Sony--was a huge smudge on the already fading shine of the Sony brand. In the damage-control department, Sony issued multiple apologies and the promise of a strengthened network, along with giving affected users a $1 million identity theft insurance policy and free games. It also gave all PSN members affected by the outage access to PlayStation Plus for a month.
Do you think it is a good idea for Sony to change the name of the PlayStation Network?
Update, February 7 at 12:15 p.m. PT: The post now includes clarification from a Sony representative.