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Xbox Live accounts hit by email expiry blunder

Wed 18 Feb 2009 2:30pm GMT / 9:30am EST / 6:30am PST

UPDATE: Microsoft is investigating issue which causes gamers to lose Gamertags, as well as achievements and friends lists

Microsoft is investigating a serious system design flaw in its Xbox Live accounts system which is leaving some active Xbox 360 gamers with no choice but to start afresh with new Gamertags, deleting any achievements they may have accumulated in the past four years.

The problem stems from the Windows Live ID email address that's required to set up a Gold membership, and specifically those which are automatically set to expire after a period of inactivity, such as Hotmail.

If a user allows their Windows Live ID email to expire - perhaps because they use an alternative such as Gmail on a day-to-day basis - the email account is deleted, along with any Gamertag that may be associated with it, even if the user has set up additional non-Hotmail addresses in the meantime.

A Microsoft customer services representative confirmed the problem, apologising and adding: "The only alternative is to set up a new Gamertag with your preferred email address."

She added that there was no way around the problem, and that any achievement points gained were non-transferable, and would therefore be lost - despite any user affected still having an accurate, up-to-date profile existing on their own Xbox 360 hard drive. has confirmed the problem exists with a relatively small percentage of users, and while the issue does not prevent gamers from playing offline with a Silver membership, it will prevent them from upgrading at any time to Gold status, effectively blocking any ongoing online multiplayer activity - one of the facets which made the service so popular in the first place.

Downloads from the Live Marketplace appear unaffected by the issue, which can be diagnosed via a '8015d080' error code when any new subscription attempt is made.

UPDATE: Microsoft issued this statement in response to a request for comment on the problem: "We are investigating this issue and don't have any further comment to make right now. Any consumer with any issues regarding their Xbox 360 or Xbox Live account should visit or call their country's customer support number."


Actually I noticed this happen to me about a month ago, I was considering renewing my inactive subscription when I couldn't log in and creating a new account said my tag was "not available".

I have trouble understanding how no one at a company that large could have not foreseen this issue.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Amirrezvani on 19th February 2009 5:47am

Posted:5 years ago


Lars Vormann
Projectmanager Games

17 0 0.0
To say it frank: Where is the problem?

Isn't that the same as with free email accounts in general? If you don't use it, it will get canned. Simple as that.

Hell, I even log in my "Spam-o-rama"-account (you know, that email we all have to register somewhere where you could just smell the Spam coming from) once in a while to keep it alive.

I don't really see the fuzz behind know, you have registered with an Email adress, you know this adress will get canned if you don't use it once every other month or I log in to that mailbox on a regular to keep it alive...problem solved.

I have trouble understanding how no one at a company that large could have not foreseen this issue.

No offense, John, but regarding what I wrote above: I have trouble understanding how you could have not foreseen this issue. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lars Vormann on 19th February 2009 8:53am

Posted:5 years ago

Surely the easy answer is to transfer your account email to an email address you actually use?

Posted:5 years ago


Phil Elliott
Project Leader, Collective; Head of Community (Live Team)

163 29 0.2
We have it on good authority that users who has added in other email addresses which were used regularly - and in fact were sent emails to regarding their Xbox Live Gold membership expiry - are still being affected.

Sadly it's not as straightforward as it might sound.

Posted:5 years ago

Ah, weird. I've since changed my X Live email address. If they mess up my achievements, I'll be well annoyed. Which, of course, is big news:)

Posted:5 years ago

Hey Phil - You should give me my own spot here, I seem to post often enough:)

Posted:5 years ago


Phil Elliott
Project Leader, Collective; Head of Community (Live Team)

163 29 0.2
Hehe - there's also the new Network Forum now for discussion on news stories, or more general subjects... so I expect to see you posting in there soon! :-)

Posted:5 years ago

Oh, so there is - I just had to find that. Did you do a news story on it? If not, hurry up - the entire world deserves to know my pearls of wisdom, not just you guys! :)

Posted:5 years ago

To be honest, that hotmail account was one I had created about 6 years ago. Then when gmail came around I made a full transition, even my spam accouts were moved to gmail. By the time hotmail got its update I had already established all my e-mail address with gmail and the only thing hotmail account had tied to it was my xbox live account which I had also created a long time ago.

Hotmail accounts expire after 120 days of inactivity, my xbox live account was inactive for about 6 or 8 months and even when it was active I had no real reason to log into the hotmail account it was tied to. Also, its worth mentioning that gmail accounts are permanent and do not expire.

Posted:5 years ago


Drew J. Como
Director of Infrastructure

1 0 0.0
This actually happened to me, however Microsoft was very gracious in their resolve. (I was given a free year of XBOX Live!). This doesn't help that I lost my gamertag and achievements, however it was a good effort.

It would be great if there was a way to alert someone via the dashboard that this was going to happen and a quick way to change the associated e-mail account.

Posted:5 years ago


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