A story that has rippled across the internet over the past few days relates to a man in Saudi Arabia who saw his six year long PlayStation Network ID banned, because it features a word that is ‘offensive’. That word is legally his first name, but Sony were having none of it.
What makes it interesting, is the fact that Jihad Al-Mofadda had his PlayStation name (gamertag for you Xbox players) as ‘iJihaD’ for the past six years, but only now was it brought to Sony’s attention. With the ban, the player lost access to over 180 games in his library, and was offered the opportunity to change his name; something that never happens on PSN, which doesn’t give players the option unlike the paid service on Xbox Live.
However, according to Polygon, who spoke to Jihad Al-Mofadda via email correspondence, “PlayStation Support initially offered him a chance to change his online ID to avoid the ban, but after several days they retracted that offer and insisted that the ban remain permanent.”
Al-Mofadda sent PlayStation Support a photograph of his driver’s license and ID to prove that his name was in fact ‘Jihad’, but it wasn’t taken with any sort of grace. The response to the images was “I can appreciate that your name has many meanings but it has one meaning that a lot of users find offensive.”
In Sony’s defence, it is their network after all, and they can ban anyone they wish if needs be. To ban someone over their name, or offer a chance to change it and then retract it is a bit unfair though. Let it be known that ‘Jihad’ is a common name in Muslim countries. According to babycenter.com, Jihad is the 6,025th most popular name in 2016.
PlayStation UK contacted Al-Mofadda and offered him the chance to change his PSN ID, but it caused a lot of issues for him in the process. Some games are still locked out, trophies are missing, and save files have been lost.
While it’s rare to find a gamertag or PlayStation ID of someone’s real name, it does in fact occur. One of my good friends uses his real name on Xbox. Hi Gary! 😉 My gamertag features my first name as well ‘Jorn the Eejit’, but worse still, there are names out there which are truly insulting, or tongue in cheek. No issues with them, no?