Want to migrate your Xbox Live account back from ZA? Tough.

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Migratory

Xbox Live has been available in South Africa for just over a year now. While it’s certainly getting better, it’s definitely not yet up to scratch. We might be getting most newer content on time, but there’s still a huge back catalogue we as South Africans don’t have access to. The usual scapegoat for the slow population of the marketplace is our Film and Publications Board, the FPB, who has to rate content – but it’s a little more complicated than that; some software publishers prefer the local South African distributors deal with the FPB to make sure content is rated and available, while others prefer to do it themselves – and this, coupled with numerous local laws,  can lead to a tangled mess of confusion.

Fact of the matter is that Xbox Live in South Africa, one year on, is not up to the standard of other, more established regions – and you might want to change back to your previous region, likely the UK or US. Well, you can’t.

We received an e-mail from a very worried reader, saying  “It’s been a year since I’ve migrated my XBOX Live UK account to a South African one. I’ve checked, there’s no option to migrate back.” “Previously,” he continued “the website stated that migration can only be done once a year.” While it may be true that Microsoft did say that you’d be able to migrate once a year, they did also state that it was only to one of the nine countries that received Xbox Live support last year.  Here’s what the page said :

  • You can currently move your account to the following countries/regions: Russia, Poland, Brazil, Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic, South Africa, Colombia, and Chile*. To find information about Xbox LIVE features available in a specific country, please visit the xbox.com website for that country.
  • You may migrate your account only once every 12 months.

Thanks to a bit of poor comprehension, many thought that they’d be able to migrate back to their UK or US accounts after a year of dabbling with ZA Live for a year. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, as explicitly stated in the migration FAQ.

Q: If I migrate to the local service will I be able to migrate back to my original account?
A: At this point in time, you will not be able to migrate back to your original account.

What is curious though, is that since the newest Xbox.com redesign, all mentions of account migration seem to be gone – with links to such only displaying error pages. It seems that migration in its entirety might be a thing of the past, unless it’s hidden under a maze of menus I’ve been unable to find. Even Microsoft’s knowledge base article on account migration is gone. Sony, likewise, doesn’t allow you to change your region – something I suspect is because it’s too much trouble dealing with local laws and regulations in each country. Still, people do relocate and move to other countries all the time, and there should be provision for it.

Last Updated: November 16, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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