After Microsoft launched redesigned Xbox Live Avatars last year, the company may now be looking to revamp other Xbox Live aspects such as Gamertags and gamer profiles. According to a new report from Windows Central, Microsoft could add some flexibility to its Gamertag system, allowing Xbox users to use any username they want by adding a hash number at the end.
This is currently how usernames work on other platforms such as Discord or Blizzard’s Battle.net: You choose the username you want, and then you get an randomized hash number right at the end of it to make it distinct. Interestingly, the report says that this new flexible gamertag system would also allow gamers to use different usernames in games that support it.
This new Gamertag system may well create some confusion, but it may be welcomed by gamers who never got the chance to grab the unique username they wanted when it was still available. As of today, Microsoft is allowing Xbox Live gamers to change their gamertag once for free, but subsequent changes cost extra.
The other important change that Microsoft is reportedly considering is related to Xbox Live profiles. Following the release of the Windows 10 anniversary Update, Microsoft started to integrate PC games on Xbox Live, letting the Windows 10 Xbox app detect and display what PC games you’re playing on Xbox Live.
Now, Microsoft could be working to integrate non-Xbox games on Xbox Live even further, and that means adding PlayStation and Nintendo Switch games into the mix as well.
We've seen some early concepts of the new profile system, and they slightly reminisce of a modernized version of the old MSN profiles from back in the day, complete with your activity feed, and the ability to include statistics from other platforms, including PlayStation, Nintendo, and PC games. The new systems use design language featured in the new Xbox Game Bar on Windows 10, which should be an indicator of a broad, sweeping visual change across the entire Xbox ecosystem.
Such a change would make Xbox Live a real gaming hub that reflects all of your gaming activity, though this would require Microsoft to partner with other gaming companies to get all this data. Interestingly, this is something that GOG, a popular video games store also aims to achieve with Galaxy 2.0, the next version of the PC game launcher which will show all your games from connected PC and console platforms.
Xbox head Phil Spencer promised last year that Microsoft was working hard to revamp its Xbox services for PC gamers, and we already know that a new Xbox desktop experience is coming soon on Windows 10. We except to see a new desktop app dedicated to Microsoft’s Project xCloud game streaming service, and probably other things such as Xbox Game Pass for PC. Anyway, we hope to learn more during Microsoft’s E3 press briefing this Sunday.