Microsoft To Release 1 Million Unused Xbox Live Gamertags On Wednesday

Microsoft has been running their online gaming service Xbox Live for 13 years and during this period tens of millions of Gamertags have been registered with the service. Now the unfortunate reality of this is found when a new subscriber goes to choose their Gamertag for the first time or an existing subscriber tries to change their name as many of the popular or desired usernames have already been taken.

To make matters worse, many of these accounts have been stagnant for years meaning that the original subscriber stopped paying for the service yet Microsoft hasn't released access to the username in case the original user decided to renew their account at a later date.

As of an announcement earlier this morning, Microsoft has compiled a million of these abandoned Gamertags and will be making them available for grabs this Wednesday, May 18th starting 2 PM ET and will be dispersed over a 24-hour period. There won't be a full list of these Gamertags in question, but you'll be able to search for the availability to see if your desired name is suddenly available after this new batch has been dispersed.

How did Microsoft come up with this list? Here's what they said in their blog post:

“So, where did all these previously-unavailable Gamertags come from?  These Gamertags are from the original Xbox era, the same source of Gamertags we used in our 2011 release.  These accounts never migrated to Xbox 360 and as a result they have been inactive for quite some time.”

They then go on to talk about the types of Gamertags that will be made available:

While it may be challenging to find the exact Gamertag you want, keep trying, as there are many great Gamertags that will be released.  Although we can’t share the actual list, we can tell you that many of the available Gamertags are in the following categories:

  • Proper Names
  • Pop culture references (Entertainment, sports, gaming)
  • Types of Food
  • Geography and Travel
  • Science and Technology
  • Math and Numbers
  • Animals
  • Some of the greatest inventions of all time

Who is eligible and how do they redeem one of these Gamertags?

Access to these newly-released Gamertags will be available on, which is the most convenient way to make a Gamertag change.  Customers can also access these Gamertags within the Xbox App on Windows 10 and on the Xbox One console.  Xbox 360 customers will need to use, the Xbox App on Windows 10, or an Xbox One console to participate given that access to these newly-released Gamertags is not available from an Xbox 360 console. To change your Gamertag on the web, please visit

To determine the tenure of your Xbox Live Gold account, view your Profile on an Xbox One console or on the Xbox App on Windows 10.

Changing your Gamertag won’t impact your Gamerscore, Achievements, or your Friends list. However, it may make you the envy of your friends and fellow gamers.

Source: Xbox Wire