I'm listening to the audiobook of Ready Player One, and I'm having a problem understanding something:

Wade hacks in and creates a new identity, right? But how was he able to keep his Oasis account? I understand he copied his biometrics over, but I thought the avatars and info was based on the account?


TL;DR: Identity and OASIS credentials, while both using retina scans, are different things and not connected. And Wade doesn't use OASIS while at IOI.

When Wade first moves to Columbus, he creates a new identity and moves (not copies) his retinal information to the new identity (emphasis mine):

I was able to purchase a series of access procedures and passwords for the USCR (United States Citizen Registry) database. Using these, I was able to log into the database and access my existing citizen profile, which had been created when I enrolled for school. I deleted my fingerprints and retinal patterns, then replaced them with those of someone deceased (my father). Then I copied my own fingerprints and retinal patterns into a completely new identify profile I'd created, under the name Bryce Lynch.

However, after he does this, he remains able to access his OASIS account via retinal scan. So clearly the OASIS database isn't reliant upon the USCR for identity management.

Now, the next obvious problem is, if OASIS continues to authenticate using his true retinal data, wouldn't it be awkward when Parzival popped up when he logged in at IOI headquarters as an indent? However, when he's working as an indent for IOI, he's not actually logging into OASIS, he's logging into an IOI internal account:

My employee ID was verified and I was automatically logged into my work account on the IOI intranet. I wasn't allowed to have any outbound access to the OASIS.


IOI's intranet was a high-security, standalone network with no direct connections to the OASIS.

It's clear that there's layers of software mediating Wade's interactions with actual OASIS users while he's working support calls for IOI:

IOI's patented customer courtesy software had detected the inappropriate nature of my response and muted it, so the customer didn't hear what I'd said. The software also logged my "courtesy violation" and forwarded it to Trevor, my section supervisor, so that he could bring it up during my next biweekly performance review.

So, to sum up:

  1. Wade could change his identity without altering his OASIS access because they're different databases.
  2. Wade's unchanged OASIS identity didn't hinder his stint undercover at IOI because they didn't grant him actual OASIS access.
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OASIS accounts are authenticated by retina scan and a spoken pass phrase.

From the end of chapter 0001:

I powered on the console and initiated the log-in sequence. I saw a brief flash of red as the visor scanned my retinas. Then I cleared my throat and said my log-in pass phrase, being careful to enunciate


Wade didn't alter his real identity; he just created a new one. His real identity, complete with retina records, was still valid the whole time. His new identity would come with new methods of identification, such as credit accounts, food vouchers, etc., but it was unrelated to his OASIS account.

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  • 1
    Okay, so the Oasis account is linked to the retina scanning, and has no actual bearing on the "identity" of the real person? That sound right? – PiousVenom Mar 6 '17 at 19:09
  • 1
    @MyCodeSucks That's how I understand it, yes, although it has been several months since I read it. – Beofett Mar 6 '17 at 19:12

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