Microsoft has confirmed that it is to engage in a mass clean-up of unused Gamertags on Xbox Live, the second such operation since the service's launch, freeing up around a million dormant Gamertags for reuse.
A Gamertag is a player's identity across Xbox Live. It must be unique, and each Gamertag is tied to a particular player though available for use across multiple consoles. Trouble is, with a service that has been running for so long it's natural that popular Gamertags have already been taken - leaving newcomers stuck with names like ___xxxDankAssassin69xxx___. To address this, as well as clean up the servers a little, Microsoft is going on a cull: if you haven't used your Gamertag in a while, it's going back into the pot.
'These Gamertags are from accounts abandoned from the original Xbox era, the same source of Gamertags we used in our 2011 release,
Microsoft's Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb. 'These accounts never migrated to Xbox 360 and as a result they have been inactive for quite some time.
With Gamertags covering topics including proper names, pop culture references, food, technology, and more, Microsoft is expecting a goldrush for the better tags - but only paid-up Xbox Live gold members can apply. 'Starting on Wednesday, May 18th @2:00pm ET / 11:00AM PT, we will begin releasing nearly one million Gamertags to our valued Xbox Live Gold members with active subscriptions and at least 1 year of cumulative Xbox Live Gold tenure. These Gamertags will be released over a 24-hour period, to give our fans in various countries an equal chance to get one.