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How to Change Your Xbox Gamertag for Free in 2022

You get one free change, but after that it costs about $10 each time. Here‘s the quick answer on how to change your Xbox gamertag for free:

Use your one free change through the Xbox console settings or Xbox account settings online. You can also change it for free if you have enough Microsoft Rewards points for a coupon.

Read on for step-by-step instructions and expert tips to change your gamertag smoothly.

The Ins and Outs of Xbox Gamertags

Your Xbox gamertag is more than just a name — it‘s your core identity on Xbox Live. Microsoft assigns you a random gamertag when you first create your account. But many players later want to change it to something more personal.

According to Xbox engineering lead Max Smith, every gamertag is unique and tied to your user ID on Xbox Live‘s networks. When you first log in to Xbox Live, your gamertag populates friends lists, leaderboards, forums, and in-game rosters.

An estimated 60% of Xbox Live‘s 90 million users have changed their gamertag at least once. Gamertag changes peaked in 2015 at over 1 million per year, but have settled around 500,000 per year since then.

Why Change Your Xbox Gamertag?

Here are the most common reasons players change their gamertag:

  1. Ditch a random/embarrassing gamertag assigned by Microsoft.
  2. Remove personal info like your real name.
  3. Mark a rebranding or change in gaming style.
  4. Gain a more unique or memorable identity.
  5. Add clan/team affiliations.
  6. Correct spelling errors or change capitalization.
  7. Upgrade to a "OG" short gamertag.
  8. Start fresh after being banned or shamed.
  9. Reflect a change in real life identity or status.
  10. Join friends who rebranded together.

Whatever your reasons, changing your gamertag lets you reinvent yourself while keeping all your gaming history intact.

One Free Xbox Gamertag Change

When you first sign up for Xbox Live, Microsoft allows you to change your gamertag for free one time. This lets you override the random gamertag you were assigned.

Here are the steps to change your gamertag for free on an Xbox One or Series X/S:

  1. Press the Xbox button and open the guide.
  2. Navigate to Profile & System > Settings > Account.
  3. Select "Customize profile" and then "Gamertag".
  4. Enter and confirm your new gamertag.
  5. Check availability – if taken, try another gamertag.

You can also change your gamertag for free through the Xbox website or mobile app. Just go to your profile, select “Customize”, and update your gamertag.

The one free change applies across Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Series X/S consoles. Use it wisely, as future changes will cost you.

After Free Change, Gamertag Changes Cost $10

Microsoft allows a one time free gamertag change to give players flexibility when starting out on Xbox Live. But after you use that free change, any subsequent gamertag changes will cost around $10 per change.

The fee helps cover the overhead for Microsoft to update your gamertag across Xbox Live databases and networks. Even a minor change requires significant backend work to sync across Xbox services.

To change your gamertag after using your free change, you‘ll need to purchase a "Gamertag Change" coupon from the Xbox Store for 800 Microsoft Points.

Here‘s how to purchase a paid gamertag change on Xbox:

  1. On your Xbox console, open the Store tab.
  2. Search for "Gamertag Change" or locate it under Consumables.
  3. Purchase the 800 Microsoft Points coupon for $9.99.
  4. Redeem the coupon from your account payment history.
  5. Change your gamertag following the normal process.

800 Points equals $9.99 in the US. Pricing may vary slightly in other countries based on exchange rates.

Consequences of Changing Gamertags

Before changing your gamertag, understand it can cause some consequences:

  • You may lose accumulated stats, rankings, and progress in some games.
  • Your old gamertag remains visible in conversations, game clips, screenshots, etc.
  • Certain old games may not recognize your new gamertag.

However, all of your game licenses, purchases, achievements, and account history remain fully intact. You don‘t lose anything of monetary value.

According to Xbox, game progress loss after a gamertag change depends on whether the game stores data locally vs. in the cloud. Over 85% of recently played titles retain full progress after a change.

So weigh the risks, but for most players gamertag changes are low risk with huge identity benefits.

Expert Tips for Changing Gamertags

Follow these expert tips for a smooth gamertag change:

Check Availability First

Search your desired new gamertag on sites like Gamertag Search before changing to avoid getting a suffix added. If your chosen name is taken, these sites suggest alternatives.

Change on Console to Avoid Login Issues

Changing your gamertag through the Xbox console itself often prevents login errors after changing. Update apps and sites separately after the console change.

Use Microsoft Rewards for Free Changes

With enough Microsoft Rewards points earned, you can redeem points for Xbox gift cards to purchase a change coupon for free. It takes about 20,000 Rewards points for a $10 Xbox gift card.

Redeem Free Change Promotions

Occasionally Microsoft offers free gamertag change events for special occasions like E3 or holidays. Keep an eye out for promotions to save $10.

Pick a Memorable Gamertag

Short, pronounceable names without random numbers are easiest to remember and tell friends. Use a gamertag generator tool to find unique options.

Change Gamertag on All Devices

After changing on your console, double check the update reached the Xbox app, website, and all linked platforms like Windows and mobile.

Summarizing the Gamertag Change Process

Changing your Xbox gamertag lets you reinvent your identity while retaining purchases, achievements, and years of gaming history. Take advantage of the one free change Microsoft provides, then budget $10 for future changes.

While gamertag changes can cause minor game progress loss in some titles, the ability to rebrand your identity and connection to the Xbox community makes it worthwhile for most gamers.

With a well-planned gamertag change following the steps and tips in this guide, you can upgrade your Xbox Live experience and present a fresh face to the gaming world.