I am going to be moving to Japan next year, and I have spent a lot of money on games and DLC from the USA version of the PlayStation store, and I understand that as of right now, PSN accounts are bound to the country they were set to upon creation.
I am wondering if it is at all possible in the near future, possibly with the new PlayStation 4 coming out with new updated features, to change the country associated with our PSN account. Like I said, I will be moving overseas and would like to keep my account, but would I be able to change my country of residence to Japan on the same account? Something like this being implemented would be greatly appreciated.
What would be even better would be if there were some way to, after changing my country to Japan, access all of my previously purchased games (or at least the ones available in Japan or on the Japanese PlayStation Store) from the store associated with my new country. What would make it EVEN better is if all the stores were one and the same, with all games being available to everybody in whatever languages are available, and us players could just purchase games with our own currency and choose a language to play the game in. This would include previously purchased games and being able to select a language to download the game in. I have an account on Steam and they do exactly this. I have since then gotten rid of my old gaming PC and having confidence in Sony and the PlayStation Network and its new implementations to the upcoming PS4, I am hoping that something similar to this ease of access will be provided for the players.
I also read recently that Xbox 360 owners can now change their country of residence in their account, and I assume that affects the store they visit for Xbox Live games.
I recall talking to a customer service agent a few years ago and all they could tell me was that players' account names and countries of residence were permanent and could not be changed under any circumstance, and that if they moved to a different country, they were out of luck and had to create a brand new account on the PSN, losing all purchased content and trophies, which is very inconvenient.
Has Sony considered this type of move at all, perhaps for when the PlayStation 4 comes out? It would really make things a lot more convenient for the players, especially those who move to other countries (it happens more than you would think!), to have a shared store across all available countries and have set shared prices for each game, and being able to select a specific language to download the game in (ex. downloading Metal Gear Solid PS one classic game in either the English or Japanese version).
Any information about this would be greatly appreciated! If none can be released, please consider this!
Sony isn't going to do that for legal reasons, and it makes no technical sense anyway. The content that you purchased in your last country of residence is not necessarily licensed for, or even legal in, your new country of residence. There is no way that Sony could change your country of residence, and allow you to keep all of your Playstation Store purchases; because the country for the account determines which Playstation Store you access, and the Playstation Stores all have different content. The vast majority of content that you purchased in the US Playstation Store isn't in the Japan Playstation Store, and therefore can't be in the downloads list of a Japan PSN account. People ask for this regularly, but even if you could do it, it would not work the way that they want it to.
The PS3 can have multiple login profiles with multiple PSN accounts, and there is nothing stopping you from continuing to download content from your US PSN account to your PS3 after you move to Japan. That would be the case even if you bought a PS3 in Japan, and most of the content will be playable with your Japan PSN account also. It isn't really a problem. On the PSP and Vita you would need a separate console for each PSN account. Switching between accounts on a portable Playstation is inconvenient, especially on the Vita.
Like the OP has suggested it would be a great idea for Sony to allow universal access to it's PSN store. It is possible to do so from a technical side and it would present benefits to both Sony and the consumer.
The Steam platform developed by Valve has more than 40 million users that have been able to change their payment details whenever they require, so long as the payment card is from the region they are accessing the store. As long as this is the case the user is able to maintain their game library and all the achievements they have earned. Some games/content may be excluded from purchase (due to licensing) however if already owned is available for download whenever it is desired.
I myself have been able to use 1 single Steam account across 3 regions.
Having to create a new PS Store Account after moving to a new region seriously undermined my loyalty to the service and I have not used it in the last 3 years. It is a backward thinking belief that people do not move countries in this day and age, and to implement a system that prevents them from maintaining an account from region to region will have negative consequences.
It would be the same as forcing Facebook users to sign up for a new account anytime they move country and that they could not send friend requests to people outside their region.
I believe the digital stores for both Xbox and PS are poorly implemented and that they could learn a lot from Steam.
A great idea for you. A poor idea for Sony and Microsoft. As I said, this is not a technical issue. It is a legal one. Creating a single Playstation Store would be an administrative nightmare, especially for video; which Steam does not have, in case you didn't notice that. Even if the Playstation Store was all games, it still would not be the same as Steam, because console games are regulated differently in many countries than PC software is. Game consoles are still considered to be children's toys in many countries, and are more heavily regulated than PC software. The Playstation Store would need complex internal controls to restrict the content that each member could view or purchase based on where he lives, because the law in some places requires that. Sony is required to comply with these laws because Sony maintains a physical presence in many countries; where it manufactures, distributes, and services products. Valve is a software company that largely operates only in the US, and distributes products thorough unaffiliated third-parties. Steam is an Internet business operated by Valve, with little physical presence. That makes Valve subject to far fewer national laws than Sony is, and makes its legal liability much lower. Sony is in far riskier position than even Microsoft in this regard. The way that Sony organized this makes sense to people that understand how international business and law actually works.