Moving with a XBox 360 in another country can be a pain, and Microsoft is being a bitch. You will encounter the following problems:
- Your gamertag country cannot be changed. This is annoying, but could be in itself not be a big issue. This is without counting that…
- Your payment method country must match your gamertag country. You got a gamertag from country X, you can only use a card from the same country.
- Some downloads are limited by IP, but you won’t know until you’ve bought it. You buy, pay with microsoft points, and then get the great message “This item is not available in your location”. By the way did you know those are not refundable?
Being a geek helps a lot to fix the 3rd problem I listed here as I’ll explain a bit later in this post.
The first point can’t be fixed. Microsoft will just tell you to create a new gamertag (forget about keeping your scores, reputation, achievements, etc). In an international world in which more and more people are moving from country to country, unability to relocate a gamertag is a big drawback.
I can only recommand you to keep a bank account in your original country. If your bank isn’t OK, try asking other banks. From my country (France) almost any bank will accept, and internet service allows me to manage everything from where I am now (Japan).
If for some reason you can’t or don’t want, another way is to have an additionnal free gamer tag (without gold subscription) in your new country, and buy stuff with it. It’s a bit more inconvenient, but can do the trick. As for gold subscription for your main account, you can renew it by buying xbox cards in your original country (ebay has tons of people selling those codes in many country, with delivery of the code by email).
Now for the 3rd point, the only viable solution is to use a proxy in your original country. Being a linux geek I achieve this by running openvpn+NAT on a server of mine in France, connecting to the VPN from my linux router here in Japan, and configuring a bridge between the vpn’s interface and a vlan. I then configure my managable switch to untag some ports on this vlan. Once I finish that, my switch got some ports which are in another country (pretty cool heh). I can just connect the xbox to those ports to be in another part of the world in seconds (don’t forget to configure a dhcp).
Finally Microsoft can detect this (either by trying to detect if your ip is a known proxy in the case of VPN, or by detecting the fact you need only a few seconds to travel from one country to another), however I believe they don’t want to act against this as it would have a quite negative impact on their image (“In our mind a customer isn’t someone who travels, so if you can’t fit our image of you, get lost”). Just create a gamertag relocation procedure!
By the way it looks like US military in other countries have the same problem, while XBox 360 and games are sold in military bases over the world, IP restriction also applies to military, meaning they can’t buy some things (I guess US military would love to use the VOD service which is restricted to the US).