Sony will let users of their new console use their real names on the PlayStation 4's online service when the system launches on November 15, the company has confirmed to Kotaku. This is an option, not a mandate. It's also a point of distinction between PS4 and Xbox One.
Microsoft, which also wants to allow owners of their new console to use their real names online, won't be offering that option until some time after launch.
Gamers who enjoy being anonymous and playing under nicknames probably won't care about this option on either platform. But Sony and Microsoft have both been talking about allowing a real-name option to make their online networks more inviting to wider audiences. Social networks like Facebook tend to utilize real names; whereas the online services for current Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo consoles have not. It remains to be seen if the real-name option will have its own pitfalls, such as potentially opening PSN and Xbox Live users to more personal harassment (both networks' systems for reporting troublesome users could counteract that.)
Sony has said that people who use the real-name option on the PS4's PlayStation Network will still be able to play games with nicknames/aliases. This isn't an all-or-nothing, named-or-anonymous proposition.
The PS4 will be out on November 15. The Xbox One, which will be compared to the PS4 (and vice versa) for about the next half decade or so, will be out a week later.
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