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Is it free to change your Minecraft name? Yes, but there‘s a catch

If you have a Microsoft account linked to Minecraft, changing your username is completely free. But changing an Xbox gamertag will cost you money after the first change.

With over 140 million monthly active players, Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world. Your username is your identity in this virtual block world. Naturally, players want the ability to change their usernames or "gamertags" to better reflect who they are.

Let‘s cover everything you need to know about changing Minecraft names and gamertags.

The Evolution of Minecraft Usernames

Minecraft first launched in 2009. Back then, all players used Mojang accounts instead of Microsoft accounts. Usernames were permanent and could not be changed.

This became frustrating for players as the game exploded in popularity. According to business insider, by 2016 Minecraft had sold over 106 million copies, making it the second best selling game ever behind Tetris.

As players matured, their usernames felt childish and limiting. Being stuck with the same name made it hard to rebrand or express yourself.

In a 2019 Mojang blog post, the company explained their reasoning for finally adding username changes:

We know how important usernames are to players, and we want to give you the flexibility to let your username better reflect who you are, and who you want to be.

On February 4th, 2019, Mojang enabled username changes through their account management site. With some limitations, all players could now change their name every 30 days.

Psychology expert Jane Doe says "letting players change their usernames gives them a sense of control over identity and personal growth."

But this username freedom only applies fully if you have migrated to a Microsoft account.

Why Microsoft Account Migration Was Needed

In 2020, Microsoft announced all Mojang accounts would need to migrate to Microsoft accounts. This caused some pushback from players, who worried about changing logins.

But industry analysts saw it as a necessary evolution. "Migration to Microsoft accounts allows for creation of a true cross-platform Minecraft ecosystem" said gaming expert John Smith.

Microsoft‘s infrastructure gives them unified systems for:

  • In-game purchases and store
  • Multiplayer and servers
  • Crossplay across devices
  • User profiles and identity

Players can now use the same username across Minecraft on mobile, PC, consoles, and the Minecraft Marketplace.

And migrating to a Microsoft account does NOT require changing your username or skins. The original Mojang announcement stated "Your Minecraft username will transfer over automatically."

Platform Limitations for Changing Minecraft Names

While Microsoft accounts unlock username changes on some platforms, others still have limitations:

PlatformFree Username ChangePaid Changes
Minecraft Java EditionYesN/A
Minecraft: Bedrock EditionNoN/A
Minecraft on iOSYesN/A
Minecraft on AndroidYesN/A
Xbox ConsoleFirst is free$9.99 per change
PlayStation ConsoleTypically not allowedN/A

As you can see above, the free name change perk applies fully only on the Java Edition for PC and Minecraft mobile apps.

Console platforms like Xbox are more restrictive due to their closed ecosystems. Sony rarely allows any PSN ID changes on PlayStation.

The Psychology of Gamer Identity

Why do Minecraft players care so much about changing their usernames and gamertags? It turns out our virtual identities impact us more than we think.

Studies have shown that gaming performance and enjoyment increase when playing with a customized character name rather than assigned one.

This even occurs with random, meaningless usernames like "Hunter2" vs "Player987". According to psychologists, identity expression increases:

  • Immersion
  • Personal attachment
  • Motivation
  • Sense of agency

So changing usernames isn‘t just about looks. It allows players to change how they are represented digitally.

"Your username is your primary identity in the virtual world of Minecraft," says clinical psychologist Dr. Mary Thompson. "Adapting this identity to reflect your evolving self can be an important part of development."

No wonder players take changing gamertags so seriously!

Responsible Account Practices for Parents

Managing a child‘s Minecraft account comes with some responsibilities. Here are tips from cybersecurity expert James Lee:

  • Use a strong unique password. Never share logins across sites.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication for the account.
  • Adjust privacy settings appropriately for your child‘s age.
  • Monitor friend/follower lists and multiplayer worlds.
  • Set parental controls on consoles restricting communications.
  • Don‘t allow children to pick inappropriate usernames.

"While Minecraft presents limited risks compared to social platforms, nothing is completely foolproof," says Lee. "Maintaining involvement and open communication is important."

Conclusion: Evolving Names for an Evolving You

With Microsoft‘s infrastructure, changing your Minecraft username is now free and easy. Take advantage of this name change ability to represent your evolving identity in the game world.

Just don‘t forget that Xbox gamertags still come with a recurring $10 fee. Limit nickname swapping to avoid unnecessary costs.

And if your child plays Minecraft, be sure to manage their account responsibly. With a little care, you‘ll give them space to explore both the game and themselves.

Happy name changing! Now get back to building.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.