Most of us have been given a nickname at least once in our lives. Typically these nicknames are funny or ironic. In esports nicknames or “Gamertags” are essential to the industry and its identity.
What are esports Gamertags? A Gamertag is the nickname video game players use when playing games online. Every esport game requires you to have a Gamertag. It’s a way for gamers to separate themselves from the competition. They’re very personal, and professional players often identify themselves by their Gamertag.
I unfortunately never had a cool nickname or Gamertag. My friends just called me Josh and Gamertags weren’t around when I was playing video games in the 90s. After online video gamers were created, Gamertags became incredibly popular and necessary when pursuing a career in eSports.
Why are Gamertags Used?
I never really had a Gamertag. When I played video games with my brother or friends, we just used the same console. Online gaming hadn’t been invented yet.
If you are a gamer, what is your Gamertag?
Nicknames have always been a part of sports and sports culture.
We often call athletes by their nicknames before even using their real name. They’ve become so associated with their nickname it’s hard to separate the two.
You have such legendary sports nicknames like…
- Kobe Bryant: Black Mamba
- David Ortiz: Big Papi
- Marshawn Lynch: Beast Mode
- OJ Simpson: The Juice
- Lebron James: King James
- Michael Jordan: Air Jordan
All of these nicknames are very popular with fans and used frequently by the actual athletes.
There’s weird psychology where these nicknames almost make athletes more personable and approachable. They make casual fans feel more connected to their favorite sports star.
Not every professional athlete has a nickname, but every gamer has a Gamertag.
I found it very interesting to really research this topic and understand the connection these athletes have with their Gamertags.
Gamertags only came into existence when online gaming became part of the video game world.
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If you truly love your Gamertag Etsy has made it possible to proudly display your name anywhere.
They became a necessity as players connected their Xbox, PlayStation, and PCs with gamers all around the world. People probably never thought they would be so connected to their Gamertag.
If you decide to play any video game online, it doesn’t matter what system you use you’ll have to create a Gamertag. Video game developers need these Gamertags to differentiate between all the millions of players currently using their product.
It’s a way for them to track the competition and for gamers to see how well they are stacking up against the rest of the world.
Initially, these Gamertags were only used so people could play games; now professional gamers are associating their entire brand with the name.
Fans never call professional gamers by their actual name. They always shout and cheer for them by their Gamertag.
Professional gamers will name all of their social media pages and various streaming channels after their Gamertag.
This is why players spend so much time deciding on the perfect Gamertag. Aspiring professional Gamers know these nicknames will be with them through most of their career.
Microsoft’s official definition of a Gamertag is…
“A gamertag is your alter ego in the Xbox world. It’s made from an alias, an optional avatar or picture (called a gamerpic), and a bit of info to represent you when you’re playing games and sharing with other people in the Xbox community.”
There you have it! I couldn’t have said it any better.
They allow players to connect with the community and build a reputation amongst fellow gamers.
Gamertags allow players to communicate with other gamers and to be found within the video game world.
Sharing Your Gamertag
If you ever meet a fellow gamer instead of exchanging phone numbers, you’ll typically exchange Gamertags. This way you can find each other and be able to compete together.
There are millions of people playing video games today. Which can make it difficult to find your friends on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network!
Gamertags help you narrow down your search so you can play with who you want. You don’t have to play with just random gamers online.
It makes me laugh to even think about handing out a Gamertag instead of a phone number. Call me old school, but that’s not what I’m used to.
Players also love how video game developers have incorporated Gamertags into their product.
In most esports games when you win the match, your Gamertag is proudly displayed on the screen and says “Victory to ….”
Players take a lot of pride in seeing their Gamertag appear on the screen. It’s a way to gloat to your competition that you really are the better player.
If you play a first person shooter like Halo or Call of Duty your Gamertag will appear every time you’ve killed the competition. The game will display text saying “You were killed by…”
It’s very common for gamers to have funny Gamertags so when that screen appears the losing player will be humiliated that they were killed by ‘Crimsix.’
DID YOU KNOW?
Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter is often regarded as the best Call of Duty player ever.
I always appreciated this feature, so my brother knew who beat him.
Gamertags bring a lot of fun and creativity to esports. They allow young gamers to have some personality.
Safety and Language Barriers
There are some additional positives to having Gamertags in esports and video games in general.
I appreciate the additional safety that Gamertags provide young aspiring players.
As we all know the internet is full of great things but there are people out there who will take advantage of naive people.
Bad people have unfortunately used video games as a way to steal people’s personal information. This is where Gamertags can make a difference.
Players don’t have to use their real names when creating an account which gives them an extra layer of protection. They can pick whatever crazy Gamertag they want, and no one ever knows who you really are.
In today’s increasingly virtual world it’s good to have this extra way to protect yourself.
Especially with very young gamers! Kids as young as 6 are playing Minecraft online.
Gamertags help us shield them from anyone we don’t want them speaking to.
Speaking the Same Language
Esports is a worldwide phenomenon with fans all over the globe. With such a vast network of supporters, there was bound to be some language barriers amongst gamers.
Gamertags provided a way to break through some of that language barrier and allow some connections to be built.
Most Gamertags are in English making it easy to connect with players from the United States, Europe, or Asia.
Having a universal language for Gamertags makes it easy for shoutcasters as they broadcast different tournaments around the world. The shoutcasters can quickly identify who’s playing for fans.
I know my own children will want to play video games someday, so I’m a big fan of online production. Esports can be complicated enough, so I’m glad Gamertags can simplify it.
Negatives of Gamertags
Esports is still growing its fan base every single day. New fans are discovering why it’s so great either through streaming or by actually going to tournaments.
It’s estimated they will have around 600 million fans worldwide by the year 2020.
To really hit that goal the industry will need to overcome some negative public opinion surrounding their star athlete’s Gamertags.
Yes, Gamertags are great, but they have been misused and turned some potential fans away from the industry.
What’s turning casual fans away is the occasional crude, rude, or insensitivity of Gamertags.
Video games and esports is obviously an industry that appeals to a younger demographic. This younger demographic can be immature which has led to some less-than-ideal Gamertags.
I used to be a teenager, so I understand the ‘humor’ of using a crude slang or name for a Gamertag. You think it’s funny at the time, but these gamers are unaware they are causing harm to their sport.
It’s difficult for the older generation to cheer for esports athletes when they’re using Gamertags like ‘JesusStick’ and ‘Rape’.
CHECK IT OUT
Here’s a great article explaining the backstory behind both of those Gamertags.
While the gamers using those names weren’t trying to be hurtful, it still doesn’t help casual fans get over the fact that they’re using those names in the first place.
I’m curious to see if Gamertags like those will be nonexistent in the future. As the industry becomes more popular and worth more money there’s going to be more pressure to pick a more traditional name.
The large corporations behind esports teams and organizations are not going to want to support professional athletes with these Gamertags.
Hopefully know you know what a Gamertag is, why they’re so popular, and the positives and negatives of them.
If you’re a new gamer you might still be struggling deciding on a perfect Gamertag!
Choosing a Gamertag
I appreciated finding some of these tips and tricks for picking a good name.
These are good to know because I probably would have broken some of these unspoken rules with Gamertags.
If you are a veteran player then you probably already have a Gamertag in use, but if you’re looking for a new one or are new to gaming, please feel free to use any of the following advice.
Adam Alter is a marketing professor at NYU Stern School of Business, and he had this to say about players and their Gamertags.
“I’d imagine that simpler names are more memorable, more recognizable, and easier to repeat mentally when people are thinking of the other players who occupy the same gamescape. It’s hard to think of a time when a simpler name would hurt a gamer or a team, but easy to imagine that gamers with very complex Gamertags get lost in the mass of names.”
I absolutely respect everything Mr. Alter said about Gamertags. As a professor of marketing, he would know how to sell your brand and product.
Professional gamers really do use their Gamertags to represent their brand. This is why what Mr. Alter said needs to be taken very seriously when picking a Gamertag.
I’m not trying to freak you out and make you feel like you have to come up with the absolute perfect Gamertag. You can always change the name later (probably), but as an aspiring esports player, you need to have a name that you like.
To build any sort of fan base or following your fans need to know what your name is.
You’ll quickly notice within the esports industry that having a creative or unique Gamertag is something all gamers want. These athletes think it makes them really cool to have a Gamertag that’s different than anyone else’s.
With there being millions of gamers it can appear intimidating at first trying to come up with a Gamertag that’s not already taken.
This is why it can be helpful to have a list of names that you like. Just in case your favorite Gamertag is already taken.
Know the Rules
Before choosing any sort of Gamertag, your first priority needs to be understanding the rules and regulations around what the name can and cannot include.
Every console and video game will have restrictions on what you can include in your Gamertag.
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Here’s Riot Games rules regarding Gamertags.
This can range from limitations on using numbers, special characters, or even making it impossible to include a space in between 2 words.
A brief word of warning, please don’t use any hate speech or cursing in your Gamertag.
Using any sort of hate speech is a quick way to get your profile blocked or banned from certain video games.
Most games won’t let you use a curse word in your Gamertag
You’ll need to understand these rules so you don’t spend time deciding on a name that won’t even work within the video game.
A Little Mystery
I would highly recommend not using your actual name within your Gamertag. Using your own name would completely contradict my previous point about being able to protect your identity online.
Plus it looks kind of lame just to use your name.
Gamertags that are mysterious, intimidating, and really have no meaning typically are the most popular.
Players want to seem mysterious and intimidating to other gamers. They’re playing a mental game to throw the competition of their game.
Some gamers will actually take the opposite route and pick a Gamertag that’s incredibly goofy. A name that just makes people laugh or is beyond ridiculous.
Their strategy is to humiliate their opponents if they actually lose and the victory screen pops up and says that you lost to ‘Balls.’
Deciding whether to go intimidating/scary or goofy/ridiculous is really up to your personal preferences.
I tend to lean more towards the goofy route.
Inspiration from Anywhere
Try looking at your own life for inspiration. It can be fun to incorporate things you enjoy outside of gaming into your Gamertag.
Make it as personal to you as possible! It creates an extra sense of connection.
Make it Unique
It can be beneficial to use numbers, special characters, or lowercase and capital letters.
Really anything that can help your Gamertag stand out from the competition. Sometimes the only way to register a specific Gamertag is with special characters because the name is already taken.
I found this example list for you to use when making your Gamertag unique. It’s very common to see numbers be used in place of actual letters.
- 1= i or I
- 5= S
There are obviously more ways you can use characters for letters, but these are the most common.
Try not to use too many crazy combinations! It can make it difficult for fans to find your content on the internet.
I also found good advice not to overuse the letter ‘X’. It was very popular for a while to use unnecessary ‘X’s in a Gamertag. Doing this will make you come across very lame and dated.
If you’ve read any of our other blogs, you will know we are writing and designing this website for our younger sister.
She has aspirations to be a professional gamer, and we wanted to know as much as we could about the industry to help her and our parents.
Some of the advice I found about female gamers and their Gamertags was very interesting.
Please feel free to read our blog about female gamers.
It was advised that you don’t reference your gender in your Gamertag. For instance, using the word ‘girl’ or ‘lady’ in your Gamertag to identify as a woman.
I have to admit it took me a second to understand the reasoning behind discouraging these phrases, but now I know where they are coming from.
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For inspiration check out this list of the highest earning female esports athletes
Esports and video games are making good strides to include women in the industry. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of gamers that look down on female players.
They can be rude or just refuse to play them if they know they are a woman.
This is why it’s been advised to keep the fact that you are a woman hidden in your Gamertag. It can cause an unnecessary headache that some gamers would rather just not deal with.
If that doesn’t bother you then, by all means, choose whatever Gamertag you want. Include your gender and be proud of the fact you are a female gamer.
If you experience any negative or hateful interactions don’t be afraid to report the user!
Gamertags are supposed to be fun and exciting. Take some time making a list of names you are proud of and think are fantastic.
Then just register it!
Try not to overthink it so you can get back to actually playing the video game that you love.
Can you change your Gamertag? Typically yes it’s possible to change your Gamertag. I would recommend checking the rule and regulations of the game you’re playing, so you understand if it’s possible. If you decide to change your Gamertag make sure to let your fans know so they can find you on Twitch and social media.