Are you the type to dash madly toward any new online service’s sign-up page even if you think you’ll never touch it again, just to lock down your username of choice? As any good geek knows, handles are a precious commodity, especially for free services that don’t have explicitly advertised nickname-recycling policies.
One online ecosystem, Xbox Live, may have a respite in store for users who want to remove extraneous numbers or characters from their Gamertag of choice. A Monday announcement from Xbox Live PR chief Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb confirmed that a slew of “nearly one million” dormant Gamertags will be made available for qualified Xbox Live Gold members starting on Wednesday, May 18, at 2pm EDT.
Microsoft has apparently been careful about what “dormant” means. This pile of names has been freed from a pool of Gamertags that were created on the original Xbox console and remained unused since that console’s servers went offline in 2010, meaning they were never used to log onto either newer console or through Microsoft’s Web-browser interface. Gamertags have always been free to create, even before Microsoft introduced separate “silver” and “gold” tiers of Xbox Live service on the 360 console, so certain juicy-sounding handles may very well have been created by original Xbox owners who had no intention of remaining longtime Xbox Live gamers. (Microsoft released dormant Xbox Live handles from the original-Xbox era in 2011 as well, but not as many.)