Microsoft has announced it will be making a number of changes to the user agreements for several of its services. One of them adds a requirement for Xbox Live users so they can keep using their Gamertag.


Before you start to panic, you can most likely rest easy. The new changes, which were quietly published earlier this month and go into effect on September 15, include this statement:

You must sign into Xbox Services at least once in a five-year period, otherwise you may lose access to the gamertag associated with your account and that gamertag may become available for use by others.

In other words, even if you are not a heavy Xbox Live user, you likely have some time to keep your Gamertag safe from being poached by others. Microsoft has also posted a list of the notable changes to its service agreements, which also cover services like Skype, Bing and others:

  • In the Code of Conduct section, we've added a prohibition on posting terrorist content, and an explanation of our Code of Conduct for Xbox users.
  • In the Microsoft Account or Skype Account section, we've added a requirement that you must sign into the Xbox Services at least once in a 5-year period to keep the Xbox gamertag associated with your Microsoft account. We've also added that if your account is compromised, we may be required to disable access to certain content.
  • In the Work or School Accounts section, we've added a notice that your separate work or school terms apply if you sign in with a work or school email address.
  • In the Payment Terms section, we've clarified that customers agree to keep their account and payment information up to date. We've also clarified procedures for automatic renewal of Services.
  • For customers living outside of the United States and China, we've also added that some transactions might require foreign currency conversion or be processed in another country.
  • For customers living in Taiwan, we've clarified that all purchases pertaining to digital content are final and non-refundable when such content or service has been provided online, and that there may be certain circumstances when you are entitled to a refund for subscription Services.
  • For customers living outside of the United States and China, in the Contracting Entity, Choice of Law, & Location for Resolving Disputes section, we've added that if you are using the free service in Singapore or Hong Kong, you are contracting with Microsoft Regional Sales Corp.
  • For customers residing in China, in the Contracting Entity, Choice of Law, & Place to Resolve Disputes section, we've added that if you are using MSN, Bing or the Windows Maps App, you are contracting with Microsoft Mobile Alliance Internet Service Co., Ltd., and if you are using Xbox Store on Xbox ONE, you are contracting with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Media Co., Ltd.
  • In the Xbox Live and Microsoft Studios Games and Applications section, we've clarified that, if allowed by your Xbox privacy settings, Microsoft can publish your name, gamertag, gamerpic, motto, avatar, and games that you've played in communications to people on your Xbox friends list. We've added that for any device that can connect to Xbox Services, we may automatically check your version of Xbox console software or the Xbox App software and download Xbox console or Xbox App software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Xbox Services, using unauthorized Xbox games or Xbox apps, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices with an Xbox console.
  • In the Store section, we've deleted provisions that required separate terms for business organizations that provide access to private store experiences.
  • We've added a new section for group messaging services.
  • In the Skype section, we've added updates to address changes to Skype Manager functionality. We've also added a new section for GroupMe services.
  • For customers living in the United States, in the Rewards section, we've added offers that will qualify for points under the Rewards Program. We've also updated eligibility requirements for the Rewards Program and noted that you must log in at least once in a 180-day period to retain your Rewards Program account.
  • We've added a new section for Bing Places services.
  • For customers living outside of China, we've added a new section for Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band.
  • We've moved the rights associated with digital goods (including music, images, video, text, books, games and other content) into its own section.
  • We've added a new section for OneDrive services.
  • For customers living in the United States, in the Binding Arbitration and Class Action Waiver section, we've made minor edits to shorten it and change the addressee for sending us notices.
  • In the Standard Application License Terms, we've clarified that additional terms may apply to applications you download from the Windows Store or the Xbox Store.
  • Throughout the Microsoft Services Agreement, we've made several changes to improve clarity and address grammar, typos and similar issues.

What do you think of these changes to Microsoft's service agreements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!