One problem with joining a popular service late - after it's already a huge hit, of course - is that your favourite user ID or handle is probably already taken, so you'll have to settle for adding numbers or picking something less you. It's a drag.
And if you became an Xbox Live member with the Xbox 360 or Xbox One, that may well be the case, as millions of choice gamertags were already claimed during the original Xbox era. However, you might have a shot at a previously claimed tag, as Microsoft is about to release a heap of them.
Today, Major Nelson announced that the company will open up more than a million gamertags that were registered on the original Xbox but never migrated over to an Xbox 360. It's been more than 10 years since the Xbox 360 released, and the hardware has been officially discontinued, so Microsoft seems pretty satisfied that the original account owners aren't coming back for them.
Microsoft did a purge like this back in 2011, as well, but it sounds like there are plenty more gamertags up for grabs this time around. Some of the potentially popular tags coming available include proper names, food and pop culture references, and "some of the greatest inventions of all time," reads the blog post announcing the move.
Looking to switch from your current tag to something new? You'll have a shot this Wednesday, 18 May - but only if you have an active Gold membership that has accumulated at least a year of paid service to date. They'll roll out over a 24-hour period beginning at 2:00pm ET (that's 7:00pm in the UK), so if you've got an eye on something specific, keep checking during the day.
Checking via Xbox.com is the easiest option, although you can also use the Xbox app on Xbox One or Windows 10. Xbox 360 owners will need to use one of those aforementioned options, as they can't access these new gamertags directly from the console.
[Source: Major Nelson]