If you ever wanted an Xbox Gamertag that has already been taken by someone else, Microsoft has some good news for you. At E3 2019, the company announced major changes to the Xbox Live Gamertag system, including allowing you to choose any Gamertag, even if it is already taken.
How you can choose a name that’s already taken
Microsoft’s new Gamertag options come just months after Sony started allowing users to change their PSN IDs. Microsoft’s new system for Gamertags is somewhat similar to the systems used on Steam, Discord and Battle.net. This means that if you are choosing a Gamertag that has already been taken, the Xbox system will auto-generate an ID suffix of numbers and add it to the tag to make your Gamertag unique.
For example, if you want the name “Xboxer12,” but it’s already taken, Microsoft will make it “Xboxer12#1123” to make it different from the original.
“We’ll even change the suffix font size to keep the focus on the name you chose,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
If you don’t want to change your present tag, then you can keep it, and no numbers will ever be attached to it.
Other changes to the Xbox Gamertag system
As far as other changes to the Gamertag system, players can now use up to 12 characters. Microsoft’s new Gamertag system also supports more character scripts, which means you will be able pick a name in over 200 different languages.
Additionally, the Gamertags will support 10 new worldwide alphabets. The newly supported character sets include Bengali, Hangul, Devanagari, Basic Latin, Thai, Latin-1 Supplement, Cyrillic, Katakana and Hiragana symbols for Japanese, and CJK Symbols for languages in China, Japan, and Korea.
Microsoft’s new Gamertag system is rolling out today for the new Xbox app and Xbox Game Bar for Windows 10. For consoles and mobile apps, the new system will come out later this year. If you want to change your Gamertag, the first change is free, while subsequent changes will set you back $9.99.
Microsoft is promising more changes to the Gamertag system going ahead. These changes are the “first step in an ongoing journey for evolving gamertags, so we appreciate your patience as the team continues to implement new features based on your feedback,” Microsoft said.
Xbox backward compatibility ends
The changes to the Gamertag system are welcome news for Xbox fans, but Microsoft released one bit of bad news as well. At E3 2019, the company revealed that it is releasing the final batch of backward compatible titles. These titles include Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Asura’s Wrath, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands, Far Cry Classic, Too Human, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Infinite Undiscovery, Skate, Too Human and Star Ocean: The Last Hope. On the Xbox side, there are four Splinter Cell games and more.
Backward compatibility is one of the best Xbox features, allowing gamers to enjoy original Xbox or even Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One without spending anything extra. This feature is now coming to an end, but thankfully, the project is still very much alive.
So far Microsoft has added more than 600 Xbox and Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One via the backward compatibility. Now no new games will be ported from the older consoles. Although it is sad news for fans, the games that have already been ported over will continue to be backward compatible. According to Microsoft, such a decision was important to shift its focus to the next-gen console, code-named Project Scarlett.
“We have now shifted our focus to help make the games you love playing on Xbox One compatible with future Xbox hardware,” Microsoft said. “After this week, we have no plans to add additional Original Xbox or Xbox 360 titles to the catalog on Xbox One.”
Microsoft is now promising to make every Xbox One game (and from the previous generation of Xbox) support the Scarlett.
“That’s why we’re taking our work a step further and announced this week that thousands of games from all four generations will be playable on Project Scarlett,” Microsoft said.