Microsoft is making major improvements this month to the process by which it allows users to migrate their Xbox Live accounts from one country to another, according to a statement the company provided to Polygon today.
The old process, which Microsoft referred to as a "pilot program," debuted in October after users clamored for it for years, and was discontinued Dec. 14. "The conclusion of this pilot program is in preparation for the release of an automated tool which will be available in mid-January on Xbox.com," a Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon.
Previously, an Xbox customer support representative had to manually move an individual account between regions, which could take as long as six weeks — a period during which the user's account would remain inaccessible.
According to screenshots obtained by Neowin, the new process can only be performed once every three months. It will let users transfer their Xbox Live Achievements and Gamerscore, Xbox Live profile information, existing Microsoft Points and remaining time on their Gold membership between countries in which Xbox Live is officially supported (a full list is available here). Microsoft cautions that certain services and subscriptions that differ between regions, including Xbox Music and streaming video services like Netflix, may not be available in the user's new country of choice or may feature different content because of regional restrictions.
Once the new method goes live later this month, it will be available on the Xbox website here.