I bought an original Xbox probably about 8 years ago, and even though I haven’t been playing much in the last four years, I’ve been keeping my Live account active, just to hang on to my gamertag. Pretty stupid and vain I guess, but what the hell.

A few weeks ago when I bought my XBox 360 so I could play online with my co-workers, I expected I’d be able to migrate my account without much trouble. I could not have been any more wrong.

When I enter my gamertag, I’m prompted for my Windows Live ID, but as far as I can remember I’ve never associated my gamertag with a Live ID. Now, I do HAVE a live ID (actually, it was a Microsoft Passport ID), but I can’t remember ever connecting it to Windows Live.

No problem I figure, I’ll just call XBox Live support, validate my account information with them, and they’ll fix it on the back end.

And thus, my troubles begin….

First, I called the regular support line. Three times. Each of the first three times, they walked me through their ‘Migration Trouble’ script, and when they reached the end and my problem wasn’t solved, they made up lame excuses and got me off the phone as soon as possible, leaving me with ‘homework’ to try, and asking me to call back if it didn’t work. Generally the homework involved creating a new Live ID to try, which obviously wouldn’t make a difference.

The problem is the support representatives at XBox Live are trained to listen to keywords without thinking about the context, so they are too stupid to understand that when an error message says you are entering the WRONG Live ID, obviously creating a NEW Live ID isn’t going to help.

Finally, I called back for the 4th time that night, and spoke with Jim

Even though I explained to him I had already done the script 3 times, he wasn’t capable of realizing the script wasn’t going to help, so we went through it again. He made me create YET ANOTHER Windows Live ID, this time with a hotmail account because “We do everything with the Xbox on Hotmail, you need to have a hotmail account to use Xbox Live”. I knew that was utter crap, but what can you do?

When I started this process, I had one Windows Live ID. NOW I HAVE FOUR, with NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT.

Jim even tried to convince me that there might be something wrong with my 360, and that I should borrow a friends and try and recover the account there. I explained there was absolutely no way the hardware or software on a brand new XBox could be broken. I told him I was not going to try a friends XBox, and that I needed to talk to a supervisor.

Even then he still tried to direct me ‘back on script’, at which point I pretty much lost it and wigged out on him. After much venting of frustration, he finally escalated me to Mel, in the “Xbox Live Escalation Team”.

She clearly seemed able to understand the problem, but didn’t seem to have enough control to actually fix the problem. She said she would try to recover the gamertag on her end, and if she was prompted for Credit Card info, she would do the migration there. If she was prompted for a Windows Live ID, she would escalate my call further.

She went on hold for a few minutes and then came back and said she was getting a prompt for a Windows Live ID as well (No, really? What a surprise!). This told her the Live system was treating my account as an Xbox 360 account, not an original Xbox account. Because of this, she would not be able to do anything and my request would have to be escalated.

She gave me a reference number, and told me someone would contact me at my phone number in the next 5-10 business days.

I hold out little hope of that.