Just because I love my Xbox 360 doesn’t mean I have to love Microsoft. I decided that I want to change my Xbox Live Gamertag because the one I foolishly chose during my giddy excitement while getting my 360 up and running is too cumbersome. This should be simple enough, right? Microsoft is involved, so the answer is “no”. Instead of letting me make the change without difficulty, Microsoft expects me to spend 800 Microsoft Points, or $10, to make the change. That is not going to happen.
The most common theory I’ve read is that Microsoft wants to discourage frequent name changes, which could clog the network. I accept that people would change their ID, but from working in IT, I find it hard to believe that this would hose the network. It takes a lot to stress a well-built system. Even if that is the justification, why not institute a policy of one free name change every 6 months, for example. That reduces any hypothetical traffic spike and maintains goodwill. Is $10 really worth losing that? Microsoft will make far more than $10 from me in the coming years, if it will only stay out of its own way.
I could just create a new Gamertag, of course, but that involves setting up another Microsoft Live ID before attaching the new Gamertag. I’m not interested. I only signed up for a Microsoft account when I bought the 360, having shunned Hotmail and Passport for years because of Microsoft’s poorly thought out policies. I’d also lose my game achievements, which I don’t particularly care about, but I earned them all the same.
I plan to call them tomorrow to complain, though I don’t expect to get very far. Microsoft can ramble all it wants about the customer experience and how it aims to please, but it’s full of crap. It seems to care only about the Take My Money experience.
For more on the lunacy of Microsoft Points, read Kip’s adventure with purchasing Doom.