When the Xbox One launches this November users won’t be able to search for or identify other users by their real names as originally planned.
In a statement to Kotaku, Microsoft confirmed that users would only be able to identify other users through their Gamertag at launch. While the situation mirrors how users identify each other on the Xbox 360, Microsoft announced that it would allow users to add their real names to the online service during its Xbox Revealed event in late May.
Many users hoped that the real names coming to Xbox Live would allow them to find their friends more easily on the service. Right now, users need to know the exact name and spelling of the Xbox LIVE member’s Gamertag before they can send them a friend request. Since Microsoft is positioning Xbox LIVE as an enhanced social network with both friends and followers, the ability to find other users easily would have definitely helped gamers fill their 1000 friend slots on launch day.
While other online gaming services rely on random usernames rather than user’s actual names, both Twitter and Facebook allow users to identify themselves with their names for users to easily find them. Like Twitter, using a real name on Xbox LIVE would have only been an option. Facebook requires that users give a full name when signing up.
Although the feature won’t make it to Xbox LIVE in time for the Xbox One launch, a Microsoft spokesperson did confirm that the feature will make it to Xbox LIVE at some point saying that, “while real identities continue to be part of our plans for the experience on Xbox One, at launch, customers will continue to search for friends using their Gamertags.” The spokesperson also confirmed that the delay was due to prioritizing other features for the Xbox One launch, and that users should expect real names to come to Xbox One in a “a later update.”
Microsoft shared more about the new social features coming to Xbox LIVE earlier this week. While users will be limited to only 1000 friends, they’ll also be allowed to follow the game updates and play activity of as many Xbox LIVE users as they would like.
The Xbox One, along with the new Xbox LIVE, launches on November 22nd.