Your Xbox gamertag is your online "name" — how other players identify you in-game. When you set up your Xbox, it sets a gamertag for you. This is why you are allowed one free gamertag choice; the "change" is just you setting the gamertag you really want. Additional gamertag changes are not free — they cost $9.99 apiece. (If you don't have a credit card associated with your account, you will need to enter the details to complete the transaction.)
There are several reasons why you would change your gamertag, personal preference being the most common. (Pro tip: If you want a gamertag without a bunch of digits at the end, be prepared to try a lot of different options, get creative with spelling, etc., because there's a really good chance your choice has already been thought of by another player.) But once you've decided you need a new gamertag, the change can be accomplished on your Xbox itself, or at the Xbox website. We'll review the procedure for each, so you can change your gamertag and get back to gaming. (Here's another tip: If security is at all important to you, and it should be, don't put your real name or location in your gamertag.)
How to change your Xbox gamertag on the Xbox
On your console itself is the most likely place you might be when you decide to change your gamertag. You can check for available gamertags, and see how your new choice will look on the various Xbox services. Here's how you can use your controller to make the switch:
- Press the central Xbox button (it's lit when you're connected to your console) to open the console guide, and then go to "Profile & system."
- Select your Xbox profile and sign in if you haven't already.
- Select "My profile," then "Customize profile," and then select your current gamertag.
- Under the words "Choose your new gamertag," enter the gamertag that you want in the available text box, and then select "Check availability." You may be told your chosen gamertag is already taken. If so, keep trying until one is accepted.
- On the next page, review how the gamertag will appear across Xbox services.
- When you're happy with your new gamertag, select "Change gamertag."
How to change your Xbox gamertag online
The Xbox website has a convenient page for gamertag changes. You can nail down your new gamertag before committing to it. Here's how:
- Go to the official Xbox page for gamertag changes.
- Sign in with the email address and password for the account's gamertag you want to change.
- Confirm that you're signed in to the right account by ensuring it reads your current gamertag in the top-right corner of the page after signing in.
- Enter the new gamertag that you want in the text box and select "Check availability." You may receive a message that says your desired gamertag is unavailable. If so, try again until one is accepted.
- Gamertags can be up to 12 characters long, spaces included, and they can't start with a number. When you have your new gamertag selected, click on "Change gamertag."
- On the next page, you can review how the gamertag will look across all Xbox services.
- If you've arrived at your new gamertag, select "Claim it."