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Now Xbox Live Gamertags will expire after five years

Use 'em or lose 'em.

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It's always frustrating when you can't get your preferred nickname for any online service, and after nearly 14 years many of the good ones on Xbox Live are already taken. Worse, they might be tied to accounts that are no longer active, and are just waiting to go back into circulation. Microsoft freed up a cache of 1 million stale Gamertags earlier this year and back in 2011, which could become a regular occurrence. As a part of an update to its Terms of Service, the company is adding a requirement to sign in at least once in a five year period to keep an Xbox Live Gamertag associated with your account.

vii. Software Updates. For any device that can connect to Xbox Services, we may automatically check your version of Xbox console software or the Xbox App software and download Xbox console or Xbox App software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Xbox Services, using unauthorized Xbox games or Xbox apps, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices with an Xbox console.

viii. Gamertag Expiration. You must sign into Xbox Services at least once in a five-year period, otherwise you may lose access to the gamertag associated with your account and that gamertag may become available for use by others.

The new agreement kicks in September 15th, joined by tweaks to the privacy agreement plus adjustments to its terms for the Skype and OneDrive services. The full document is available here, there's a FAQ going over the parts that have changed, and here's the current TOS. If you're sick of being HunterFlowerDeath912345 then this is the page to check on your preferred name's availability, and if you're a lapsed XBL gamer it may be worth signing in every half-decade or so to keep things fresh.

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