Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb announced on his blog that, starting today, Microsoft is in the process of making previously used and unavailable Gamertags reavailable to the gaming public.
Up until this point, any Gamertag that has been claimed (going back to the original Xbox) has been reserved for that user, regardless of activity.
Unsurprisingly, Hryb says that the “process will take some time to complete,” adding that Microsoft will not be able to “tell you when the Gamertag you want might be available.”
If you’re looking to score an otherwise inactive gamertag, you need to check against Xbox’s list frequently, as Hryb says they are going to be updating “daily.”
Changing a Gamertag costs 800 MS funbucks ($10 dollars) and can be done via your Xbox. And, don’t worry, any change will not impact your achievements, friends list, or Gamerscore.