According to some information I’ve received over the past few months, Microsoft is working on a broad update to its Xbox Live social systems, with noteworthy changes coming to Xbox Live profiles, and Xbox Live gamertags themselves.
The biggest of these changes that we know about is the way Gamertags are handled on Xbox Live. Right now, you choose a unique Gamertag name comprised of numbers, characters, and single spaces. You can pay a small fee to change your Gamertag, which is then reflected across Xbox Live across all of your games and social interactions.
Xbox Gamertags are moving to a format more familiar to users of Battle.net and Discord.
According to our sources, Xbox Gamertags are moving to a format more familiar to users of Battle.net and Discord, allowing you to use any name you wish, even duplicates. If true, you may be able to use a different display name in separate games and Xbox Clubs you join, with your Gamertag being represented by your chosen username, with a hash number at the end.
My Gamertag right now is “Jez,” for example, on Xbox Live, another user could take it too, but they might be Jez#001, Jez#002, Jez#18238, and so on. I could then choose to call myself something else on games that support the new Gamertag system, theoretically, and call myself something else completely on a different game or Xbox Club. In games that don’t support the new Gamertag system, such as older ones, your “Jez#0192” numbered username will just appear as “Jez0192,” without the hash, or the display name.
In addition to the new Gamertags, Xbox Live profiles are also getting an overhaul. We’ve seen some early concepts of the new profile system, and they slightly reminisce of a modernized version of the old MSN profiles from back in the day, complete with your activity feed, and the ability to include statistics from other platforms, including PlayStation, Nintendo, and PC games. The new systems use design language featured in the new Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10, which should be an indicator of a broad, sweeping visual change across the entire Xbox ecosystem.
We have no idea at this time whether the aim to support your information from other platforms is possible or simply aspirational at the conceptual level, but it raises exciting possibilities for the future of Xbox Clubs as a potential, real contender to Discord and other video game social platforms. It also gives us a possible idea as to why Xbox Clubs have yet to show up in the excellent overhauled Windows 10 Xbox Game Bar.
We expect to hear more clarification about this new system either during or very soon after E3 2019, if indeed Microsoft goes ahead with the plans. If Microsoft is hoping to incorporate millions of new customers with games across Android, iOS, and eventually Nintendo Switch with the new Xbox Live APIs, as well as Project xCloud game streaming, it stands to reason that they might want to update their username systems to accommodate a bigger pool of potential names. Either way, I’m sure we’ll find out more soon.
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