The affected Gamertags are abandoned IDs from the original Xbox era, from accounts that never migrated to Xbox 360.
As Microsoft Will Tuttle writes on Xbox Wire, “starting on Wednesday, May 18th @2:00pm ET / 11:00AM PT, we will begin releasing nearly one million Gamertags to our valued Xbox Live Gold members with active subscriptions and at least 1 year of cumulative Xbox Live Gold tenure. These Gamertags will be released over a 24-hour period, to give our fans in various countries an equal chance to get one.”
All current Xbox Live Gold members with at least one year of cumulative membership will receive the opportunity to claim one. Tuttle states that “changing your Gamertag won’t impact your Gamerscore, Achievements, or your Friends list”.
Many of the soon-to-be made available Gamertags are of various categories, including proper names, types of food, animal, geography and travel, science and technology, mathematics and numbers, greatest inventions of all time, and more.
Although it’s not guaranteed that users find the exact Gamertag they want, Team Xbox suggests checking regularly. “Many of the best and most desirable Gamertags were unavailable … until now. We’ve listened to your feedback and once again Team Xbox is excited to announce the release of a large number of previously unavailable Gamertags,” writes Will Tuttle.
The ”resurrected” Gamertags will only be available on Xbox.com, the Xbox app on Windows 10 and the Xbox One console. Xbox 360 customers will need to use the aforementioned platforms to participate.