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Report: Microsoft Points to disappear by year's end
Report: Microsoft Points to disappear by year's end
January 23, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

Microsoft may be phasing out its proprietary "Microsoft Points" currency used on its Xbox platform, according to online reports.

Sources speaking to Inside Mobile Apps say that Points will be phased out by the end of the year, giving all the company's virtual transactions their appropriate real-world values.

If the plan comes to fruition, it would mark a major change for all of Microsoft's virtual marketplaces, particularly Xbox Live, which has historically relied on Microsoft Points as its primary form of currency.

Inside Mobile Apps reports that some mobile developers have allegedly been told to plan their future game updates based on the impending change. In addition, the report states that all existing Microsoft Points will be converted to match their region's local currency.

At the moment, Microsoft Points are used on Xbox Live, the Zune Marketplace, and Windows Phone, though the latter two services also provide the option of paying for content with real-world currency. Some Xbox Live content, such as downloadable versions of retail Xbox 360 games, also use real-world monetary values.

Recently, Microsoft updated its pricing structure for Microsoft Point bundles, and now sells online packs in 400 point ($5) increments, which makes the bundles more accurately match the standard pricing structure for games on Xbox Live. (Prior to this change, online bundles were only available in 500 point increments.)

When contacted for clarification, Microsoft told Gamasutra that it does "not comment on rumors or speculation."

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Jonathan Jennings
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thank you MS, nothing more irritating then spending $20 when all I want to buy is a game on sale for $5 and this gives me the chance to purchase indie games on a whim. As of now all indie games purchases I made over XBL are the result of my XBL account having the equivalent to loose change...what else do I buy for 340 MS points?

Alex Leighton
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I actually prefer the points to real money. With real money, you're always left with an odd amount which you can literally buy nothing with (like the 43 cents I have in my PSN wallet). At least with points, stuff is rounded enough that you can always get the full value of the card. Also, stuff actually costs what it says it costs, you don't get hit with taxes at the checkout and find out that you're two cents short and have to add another 10 bucks, which you will never fully use. Obviously this only applies if you don't use a CC.

Glenn Sturgeon
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This may be a step forward, but they have to accept paypal. That way you can pay exactly what you owe, nothing more and you never need to send your credit card info. Theres no way im giving either ms or sony my cc info to store on one of thier servers so i can get DLC or games.

Victor Reynolds
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as i said on kotaku, say good bye to great deals on MS point cards from amazon sales and the like. >:(

Matthew Mouras
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I didn't like them at first, but MS points have come to grow on me over the years for a number of the reasons people stated above: security, ease of use, sale prices on external websites. Why invest all the resources necessary to change a pillar of their architecture that is currently working just fine? I hope that, as MS suggests, this is just a rumor.

Though... it would be nice to have a digital distribution model more like Steam :) If this change would bring them closer to that, I'd support it.

Benjamin Quintero
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This could be a good thing for the Indie games if they take away the abstraction. It will be especially dangerous if they store your credit card and charge direct instead of pools of MS points :).

Marcus Miller
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I have mixed feelings. I bought Kinect Haunt the other day for 800 points ($10). I had to buy 1,600 points($20) so now I have an extra 800 points sitting in my account. I just wanted to by a $10 game and I end up spending $20.

John McMahon
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What about people that signed up for the deal. You are awarded points for certain activities, will that change to giving away money?

Benjamin Quintero
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@John they will likely close down that experiment or stop awarding points and just use it for random stuff like player stats and other useless bits of information :). As far as I know, the Rewards program has always been a form of Beta. I don't know if they've ever come out and said that it was a full feature of XBox service.

Micah Wright
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Exactly... Microsoft is forcing their customers to give them free loans, in essence. Microsoft banks your money and earns interest on it while those fractional points just sit there in your account, useless to you.

Additionally, their entire system was designed to hide and obfuscate the purchase price of their digital goods from the start. Selling points in 500 point increments and then pricing everything in base-400 point increments only serves to confuse the math for the consumer, thus hiding the actual prices of everything. Quick, how much is 360 MS points in real money? See, you have to THINK about it. You have to do TWO math problems to get to the answer, and MS knew most people wouldn't be bothered. If Microsoft had intended these points to be transparently priced, it would have been a 1000points = $10.00 system. 360 MS points on that system would be $3.60, and everyone would know that... but Microsoft doesn't WANT people to know what they're spending, which is stupid.

Can you imagine how few people would buy digital music if they didn't know how much it cost? "Hey guy, buy 760 Apple iTunes Points for $9.23 and then pick up songs for only 100 points each!" Note how that system would likewise result in points constantly being left in your account for Apple to profit off of? Why didn't Apple implement that kind of system? Because it's abusive of customers and engenders distrust and price confusion.

Forcing people to buy an intermediary currency in order to purchase goods went out when the US Congress got rid of the Articles of Confederation and settled on one currency for the land. Why are we still fighting this battle in the 20th Century in one of our most advanced technological fields?

Matt Ployhar
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I agree with Micah. While point systems do have some merit... it's also an obfuscation tactic.

Points & Rewards based systems like this have been designed & perfected by Businesses & Academia guru's as a means & tool to psychologically get consumers to spend more. (I call it a mental shell game). It's easier to spend points... than it is money... and mentally alleviates some buyer's remorse issues. There's more to it than that but I think you all get the point.

Time for speculation!!!! It was posited to me yesterday by a collegue that the Xbox Group's impetus behind this would be to help them get into other Geo's - namely China. That hadn't occurred to me but seems as good a theory as any for them to do this. They're definitely not doing it without an agenda behind it.

Jack Kerras
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I got 12,000 points for Christmas. O_O;

...okay, I guess I have a little spending spree now.

Jonathan Hamada
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12,000 Microsoft points? Microsoft points don't come in those increments. I think you may have bought a Chinese hacked account. If you're ready use them it may be too late... Microsoft will ban you for using fraudulent Microsoft points. Just giving you the heads the head up.