Opinion: Is it REALLY that hard? – Xbox Live

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It’s the little things in life that you love, and in my case, hate. Sorry if I’m a whinger.

On the 18th of July, 2010, I created a new Xbox Live/Windows Live account. Now, on every website I’ve signed up for, I’ve made my username cjschris, including Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook. But for some reason, I made my Xbox Live account CJSchris.

Now, if you don’t already know, when setting up an Xbox account, you must set up a “GamerTag”. This will be shown across the whole of Windows Live Network on Zune, Xbox Live, Games for Windows Live and possibly other services.

Now, as I said, this is a small issue, or so I thought.

Recently I’ve been playing my Xbox more, as my PS3 is being repaired after 3 years of duty, and decided I would stop the frustration and pay the 800 Microsoft Points it costs to change your GamerTag. But I didn’t want to change my gamertag to something entirely different. I just wanted to change it from CJSchris to cjschris.

Now, I put the 1000 Microsoft Points into my account (you can’t specifically say how many points you want, and they force you to get 500, 1000, 2000 etc.), and then tried to buy the GamerTag change.

Immediately, I put in cjschris as my new gamertag and breathed a sigh of relief. Problem solved.

Until I got a message saying “This gamertag is already in use”. Now, this is where the blame shifts mostly from me to Microsoft. My gamertag is already in use by ME so I can’t change its capitalisation?

But I hadn’t given up. I mean, when hasn’t an automated service stuffed up?

Frustrated, I tried to think up what I could do.

Firstly, I tweeted at @XboxSupport, Microsoft’s official Twitter account for Xbox Support. Now, they didn’t really want to help at all, and their first suggestion was for me to change it once for 800 points, and then buy another 800 points and change it back, which they said would “probably” fix it, but they couldn’t guarantee that my GamerTag would be forever taken.

Not happy with this total non-confirmation, I decided to email them, hoping I would get a more permanent response, other than a 160 character tweet.

Now, it might sound like I’m a bit cheap. “It’s only 1600 points. What is that? $16”.

1600 points costs $26.40, and seeing as you have to round up points to buy them, it would have cost $33.00 for 2000 points. And all that to change the capitalisation of 3 letters?

But the fun didn’t stop there, children. I got many responses from Xbox Support’s email. Most of them saying that there was nothing Support could do and I also got inconsistent answers to my question of “will my gamertag be vacated if I change it?”. Their Twitter account said Yes, but their email account sent me a different, confusing answer. I even said they could take the 800 points out of my account, but they wouldn’t budge.

So, because I try to sound important, I asked whether they could elevate the issue to somebody who could fix it.

The next day, I got a response telling me that I needed to confirm my details via phone. Finally. I had won.

So I called Xbox Live Phone support and got told by the lovely lady after 20 minutes that, even though my Xbox GamerTag is MINE, it is unavailable and she could do nothing.

So in the end, after numerous tweets, emails and phone calls, Xbox Support couldn’t change 3 characters of my GamerTag for $13.20, instead forcing me to pay $26.40.

The fault is not completely with Xbox LIVE. Lots of it is with me. But I still find it very frustrating.

Oh, and by the way I ended up paying the dough. Sadface.

Chris Southcott is an editor for TECHGEEK.com.au, and one of the people on TECHGEEK Weekly.