XBox Live Thinks One Name is Offensive, Rock Band Says Another Isn't Classy

Meet Steph Tytus and Varun Nangia, two more readers whose names were too inappropriate for XBOX live. Varun was forced to change his gamertag, which was his first and last name, and Steph tried to create a band using her name so the world can know that she rocks. Sadly, Rock Band thinks her name isn’t “classy,” and spat our an error message.

Here’s Varun’s letter:

Today, I discovered I couldn’t connect to Xbox Live. After calling “Shanya” at Xbox Live (could not understand her, despite trying very hard), I was told that the Xbox Live service was down. How odd – everybody else, including my flatmate, on the same console is able to connect.

So I called back and “Ryan” answered. Ryan spent 35 minutes diagnosing my issue, making me connect, disconnect, reconnect and otherwise delete, undelete and trash my account. All the while, I explained to him that it clearly was NOT an issue with the connection, and not an issue on my end. After struggling to read his script, he finally took pity on me and followed my instructions to see whether there was anything wrong with my account. Sure enough, there was.

The system had tagged my Gamertag as offensive. What was my Gamertag? First name + last name.


That’s right – my first name + last name is an offensive combination to the people who run Xbox Live. I asked Ryan what to do and he suggested changing the name order around.

So I’ve been forced to change my Gamertag – which means all the time that I’ve been using Xbox Live (about 30 months), my name has been offensive and apparently in violation of their terms, but they didn’t bother to check or notify me or… well, do anything, really, except disconnect me today. I note that they updated the terms in 2005, twice in 2006, once in 2007 and somehow, I was in compliance with those terms all this time. Yet despite no change in the terms since June 2007, I am now in violation of those same terms. Explaining all this to the supervisor, “Lawrence”, on the phone resulted in long, unintelligible mumbles (it was as if he arbitrarily picked words and letters out of the dictionary, strung them together, and then ran the whole gibberish through a randomizer), I was told that it was for my own security and protection they had decided that my name was offensive. Oh and the name that I had spent a while building an identity around? Yeah, there’s no compensation for that. Nor did my preferences transfer over. In fact, I’m completely SOL…

Oh, for pete’s sake, Microsoft.

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