Change Xbox Live Gamertag, Lose EA Gun Club Privileges

Jason is a longtime member of Electronics Arts’ Gun Club, a rewards program that gives special perks and previews to fans of EA games. A few months ago, he had to change his Xbox Live gamertag because of a complaint about it. We won’t print the tag, but it wasn’t anything offensive or vulgar, and he got to keep the same tag by adding “The” to the beginning of it. Simple enough. The problem is that changing your gamertag severs the tie between your Live account and your Gun Club account forever. Oddly, no one at EA knows how to deal with this situation.

I have a problem with EA’s support system that doesn’t seem to have a way of fixing itself and I’m hoping you folks can help out. I’ve had an Xbox 360 for 4 years now and ever since EA came out with their “Gun Club” I’ve been a member. The Gun Club basically rewards you with in game freebies/early access to demos/beta invites based on the EA games you play.

About 5 months ago XBox Live made me change (notice I said change and not delete/recreate) my gamer tag from “[redacted]” because someone found it offensive. I was able to rename my gamertag to “The[redacted]” (I called them up to confirm I wouldn’t get in trouble and they were ok with it.). Now, since most of this information is in a database somewhere, you think that changing the name of my online persona is just changing the name field of my entry; Evidently not in EA’s eyes.

The problem lies with the fact that my Gun Club account is tied to my old account – and even though my account name changed, it doesn’t see my renamed account. So that means anytime I fire up my Xbox any new rewards/challenges I accomplish that are on the gun club site are basically ignored. I have an open ticket with EA for several weeks now and even though it was escalated, they can’t solve the problem. I tried to create a new account and tie my updated gamertag to it, but their system told me it was already attached to a different EA account.

The last person I talked to on the phone said that “I have to call Xbox to get them to allow me to use my old gamertag again.” Even after I told him that the only thing that changed for my account was the name, he said their system can’t handle a gamertag update, because what they would have to do it delete my Gun Club entry (effectively rendering anything I’ve paid for useless – e.g. Cerberus Network for Mass Effect 2 ). The rep also said that the escalation team said this was an issue they couldn’t fix because I would lose all of my online personas/user states for any EA game I’ve played (Bad Company, Bad Company 2, Mass Effect 2, Battlefield 3, Battlefield Heroes to name a few).

As a programmer I work with databases all the time, and I find it hard to believe that they simply can’t just update a pointer to reference my updated gamertag without me losing any data on their end. Hopefully you can help out this gamer as I’ve all but exhausted the contacts over there.


Edit Your Comment

  1. axhandler1 says:

    Sorry, don’t have any advice to offer. All I have is a burning curiosity to know what your gamer tag was.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Same! What was so awful about “(redacted)” that “The(redacted)” makes it OK?

      • pdj79 says:

        It wasn’t awful by Microsoft’s standards…some random person complained about it so Microsoft is compelled to make them change the name. By adding “The” to it, it was enough for the system to say it was a new, non-used name and since Microsoft didn’t deem it offensive, it was allowed. I personally cannot wait for EA to update his name in their database, restoring his Gun Club access, and then in a month the same person complains to Microsoft about his new gamertag and the whole rigamarole starts again.

    • pythonspam says:

      It was just OhioStateUniversity, but anyone who knows anyone who went to that institution would have a conniption if you don’t call it TheOhioStateUniversity.

      To be fair, I have the same response when someone says, “Georgia Tech University.”

      • axhandler1 says:

        Wait, are you the OP, or are you joking? I totally know about the “The” in front of Ohio State University, I’m just amazed someone would actually complain to Microsoft about it.

        • pythonspam says:

          Not the OP, was just trying to think of a situation of how adding ‘The’ to something would make it suddenly acceptable.

      • Ecks says:

        I don’t understand how they found your original name offensive, and Microsoft forced the name change. There’s nothing offensive about it.

    • JennQPublic says:

      If enough people complain about your tag, MS automatically forces you to change it, it doesn’t matter what it was. So if you piss off some twelve year old by, say, team killing him to keep him from boosting/cheating, he will send a message to all his Xbox friends asking them to complain about your gamertag.

      Many people use this to get out of paying $10 to change their gamertag when they’re bored with it. Just message their friends asking them to complain, within a day they’ll be forced to change it.

  2. vyper says:

    EA is really bad about this type of thing. Check their forums, there are lots of tales of people trying to get their information changed on EA game websites. BFBC2 stat sites popped up mainly because the official one was so bad and then it would go down because those sites would scrape it. Battlelog is better but is still far from perfect.

  3. Cicadymn says:

    “Oddly, no one at EA knows how to deal with this situation.”

    This is EA we’re talking about, it would only be odd if they actually managed to solve a problem quickly and easily.

  4. Invader Zim says:

    I love the kitty pic, and Laura does too cause it is also in use for the “xbox bans user for being hacked” article.
    Of course, that kitty is hankering for a ring of death by blocking a few warming vents.

  5. BrownLeopard says:

    I have to agree with the OP that it’s a simple pointer. I mean c’mon, if you can change your username in their forums (you can, can’t you?) then you’d be able to change a username in their Gun Club database.

  6. BigDragon says:

    “Oddly, no one at EA knows how to deal with this situation.”

    Oddly? Oddly? No, this is called NORMAL at EA. With all the crap I’ve had to go through with Battlefield 3 I can’t see myself ever purchasing another EA game. Installation problems, update problems, Origin telling me I don’t own the game anymore, a non-admitted back-end system breach, and all sorts of other crap have plagued this game. I can’t actually log into Gun Club either. It yields error code 1 every time.

    Jason, just stop playing EA games. They’re not worth the ridiculous amount of headache they require. Their games aren’t really all that great compared to their competitors either. About the only thing you can try to fix your problem is to email EA’s CEO and talk to someone in executive customer relations. They may or may not be able to actually go tell the database people to do that simple little update command. Get ready to spend hours or weeks trying to get this accomplished though.

  7. QuantumCat says:

    I’m going to wager The will get banned too, later on. They allow you to choose your new gamertag as you’d like, but if you keep choosing bannable names, they slap you with a permanent ban.

    If it really was OhioStateUniversity -> TheOhioStateUniversity, then this is probably the pertinent clause in the code of conduct.

    “Don’t create a gamertag, profile content, Avatar action, Avatar content, or in-game content that references controversial religious topics, notorious people, organizations, or sensitive current or historical events that may be considered inappropriate.”

    It would fall into the “organizations” category–which seems a bit odd to me since every other category has to do with controversy or sensitive matters.

    • FarkonGnome says:

      You missed the part where the OP called Xbox to confirm the updated name wouldn’t be a problem.

      • QuantumCat says:

        I didn’t miss it, I just didn’t place much value on it.

        Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I doubt the CSRs you get a hold of on the phone are highly versed in the Code of Conduct and/or Terms of Service.

        I’m reasonably sure they’re not likely to interact with the Policy Enforcement Team, which is the group that actually does bans and Forced Name Changes.

      • QuantumCat says:

        To elaborate, you can’t call Microsoft when your account is banned and get any kind of resolution. You get an e-mail from the PET and if you want more details, you have to post on their forums, where a PET member will respond.

      • regis-s says:

        You missed the part where the OP called Xbox to confirm the updated name wouldn’t be a problem.

        Almost makes me want to contact Microsoft and complain about his new gamertag if that’s all it take. How can they tell him to change it after they pre-approved it?

        Never mind, that was rhetorical. I’m sure they’d have no problem forcing him to change it. Even if they did tell him it was acceptable before.

  8. mobiuschic42 says:

    That’s what EA gets for keying to a string rather than an ID! Bad programmers.

  9. wildbill says:

    You know sometimes a lawsuit wakes people up. You paid for a service, they will not honor that service in a reasonable way.

    Make a small claims suit. Not only ask for compensation for all the stuff you actually paid for, but also ask for an amount equivalent to re-earning your bonues at a reasonable hourly rate.

    Small claims court should be within that number. If all else fails, at least you will get some money to re-buy the stuff in your account and laugh that it cost them more than $2k to do a simple update gamertag command in a database somewhere.

  10. baristabrawl says:

    This story is useless without the name. Like that old joke, “Do you know how to keep an idiot busy? I’ll tell you tomorrow.” What will I do until tomorrow?!

  11. Mark702 says:

    The OP’s problem is that he trusted and used EA’s services to begin with. EA doesn’t care about it’s customers. Don’t buy or use their products. Only buy EA games used so they don’t get the profit, don’t get any DLC or addons for EA games either. This is what I do ever since EA decided to create a monolopy for football games, and I don’t even like football in general. I like competition in the marketplace, and I liked the NFL 2K series which their exclusive deal killed.

  12. Kestris says:

    It’s EA, do you really expect any better? And are you really that surprised that they can’t fix it? Really?

  13. clearway says:

    I would be suprised if they got it right. I bought a game, registered it, remembered i had an account already, attempted to get the new game associated with the other account, bottom line, i have never been able to play that game….last game i ever bought from ea. have you ever read eula? want to buy an unused game???