Windows Phone Store app reviews start using first names instead of Gamertags

Gamertags—they can be fun but also quite ridiculous. Same with people’s first names but probably less so, which may be the reason why the Windows Phone Store has started to use them.

A few readers told us of the changes and sure enough, when you now look at reviews for apps you’re more likely to see “Pat”, “Sarah” and “Kyle” than “Moonstomper82”.  What’s more, you will no longer see those generic usernames that are left when someone doesn’t have a Gamertag yet, instead you just see “User”.

In our opinion it does make the Store look much more clean and is easier to read, it also doesn’t look quite as juvenile as before (don’t worry, we’re sure your username is the coolest).

What do you folks think? Thumbs up or down and what negatives are there, if any? Thanks, Garret C. and others for the tip

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • "(don’t worry, we’re sure you’re username is the coolest)" - your*
    thanks for the info btw :)
  • I actually liked gamer tags. Because I don't know the 30 Xbox friends I have. With gamer tags, I can see their comments and I can add them to my friends list if they are asking to be added. That's how I recognize them and they recognize me. My first name is Atif, btw.
  • You just hijacked jack1129's comment... Generally speaking, that's rude to do. This article isn't about doing away with gamertags, but not using the gamertags when reviewing an app. It has no bearing on actual gameplay whatsoever.
  • REALLY don't like!  My name is personal and I prefer to use it in my personal circle, even if it is just my first name.  I will literally stop leaving reviews because of this.
  • "Lighten up, Francis"
    As you have already said, It's only your first name, so unless you're the only person with your first name, it is actually MORE private than your gamertag.
  • Ahahahah +1
  • I wonder what will happen if two or more users have the same first name in a review thread...
  • As with the numerous "User" reviews, their will be more than one review by "Joe"
  • Yeah, I, sort of, liked the GamerTag because it was unique. Now, if 16 Roberts and 32 Sarahs review an app, that starts to look rather silly and fake.
  • I don't care if I am uniquely represented across one site, or even multiple sites, so long as none of them are pointing to my personal info and making it public.
  • I hope you live in a hole in the ground or else your address is PUBLIC!  Seriously though, no one will care about your fuzzy can't track back reviews and have developers hunt you down and kill you because you gave their app 1 star...  Are you really putting that much personal information in your review that it would even matter?  They just need to use SOME sort of name it give their review platform some sort of credibility.
  • How is this making your personal information public? There is more "personal" information gleaned from your gamertag than from "Steve" 
  • The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho.
    Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you.
    And I don't like nobody touching my stuff. So just keep your meat-hooks off.
    If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you.
    Also, I don't like nobody touching me.
    Now, any of you homos touch me, and I'll kill you.
  • Ah Stripes!
  • Exactly, :)
  • Seriously, don't touch his stuff... =P
  • such a cry baby
  • Yeah, cause Mohammed, Bill, John, and Mike narrow it down to just one person.  Wah wah wah.
  • What happens if you leave your name blank? Would your review show up as Anonymous? That would be funny
  • I was wondering why I see so many "User"
  • Thank god
  • I think it's good.  Having a user's actual GamerTag gives people a potential outlet to contact/harass a user.  We live in a world where people seem to have no issue attacking people online anymore.  If I wanted to, I could log in to my Xbox account and start sending harrasing messages to "UberLeetGamer69".  I have no way of attacking "Jason".
  • Good point!
  • EXCELLENT point!!! Reading comments on sites anymore is practically worthless because there is so much negativity and 'bashing' going on. Granted, sites like this where it's geared towards a similar user base, as opposed to those like The Verge or Engadget where EVERYONE's opinion is the ONLY opinion that matters, isn't as bad in the harrasing department. I totally approve the 'First Name Only' review structure!
  • The only reason most people leave inflammatory or vitriolic remarks online is because they can hide behind the anonymity their username/handle/gamertag provides them. If you require that reviewers actually use their first names, which would still allow a large degree of anonymity, you are potentially likely to encounter a more civil and respectable forum.
  • You say that as if people who write inflammatory comments give a damn if you know their real name or not
  • The overwhelming majority of trolls are far too cowardly to allow their rants to be tied directly to them. Otherwise they wouldn't bother with handles at all.
  • w/e
  • If you look at the reviews for Angry Birds, it seems like the older reviews have maintained the gamertags but the more recent ones will be using the First name.
    Anybody else see this to be the case?
    Maybe they're keeping the original gamertag reviews, or maybe it's in the midst of the transition to changing the older ones.
  • My name is my gamertag lol
  • My name is also my gamer tag as well. All they will see tho is "Demi". To be honest I don't care either which way.
  • Yeah I still see many USER's and Gamertags , either of the users will have not updated their profile with full name.
  • Good change!
    They also need to implement a way to flag a review from the phone - some of them are just disgusting.
  • Or you could just scroll past it
  • I know quite a few people with ridiculous first names actually....
  • Yeah, like "Randy" hahaha :P (In the UK, Australia etc randy = horny)
  • I'm disappointed in this, every review was unique because of the Gamertag.
  • Disappointed here too. I'd rather have the option to use my gamertag instead of my first name.
  • Not good
  • Good! i hate my gamer tag.
  • Does it switch over old reviews? I'm still seeing gamertags, including my own.
  • So far, it seems to be retaining the old gamertag reviews
  • Well, my review is on that article's photo. Guesses for my name?