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Retail

Microsoft Points to be phased out by end of year

Tue 24 Jan 2012 8:30am GMT / 3:30am EST / 12:30am PST
RetailOnline

Developers being briefed on currency change - report

Microsoft is set to phase out its proprietary virtual currency by the end of the year.

According to a report by Inside Mobile Apps, Microsoft Points will be replaced with real-world currency across Xbox Live, Windows Phone and the Zune Marketplace.

Microsoft currently uses a mix of real-world and MS Points for online payment, but developers with forthcoming downloadable content are being briefed to plan ahead for the change.

The move would bring Microsoft in line with other virtual stores such as Apple's App Store and Sony's PlayStation Network which use regional pricing. Critics of Microsoft Points argue that it's confusing and users can only buy set amounts, leading to the over purchase of currency.

31 Comments

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

390 211 0.5
Nooooooooo, I like Microsoft points. Heck, I bet I spent more money on PDLC because they are points than I would if it was a money value for it.

I mean spending 1200 MS Points feels better than spending 10.28 somehow.

Wonder how that'll work for Europeans. Will $5.99 = 5.99 = 5.99 like it usually does or will there be REAL currency conversions?

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Tommy Thompson Lecturer in BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming., University of Derby

44 28 0.6
@Barrie: It's interesting to hear a vote of support for the points scheme, as it is often something I hear very little support for.

Personally I don't like them on the basis that I have to buy them in set quantities rather than just paying X for the content I want. Leading to a stack of points sitting in my account. I think the argument that it is confusing can only be stretched so far. I would argue instead that it is designed to hide from the customer the real value of content and how much they are charging. When 1200 MS points is shown as just over 10, then you wonder how many people may refrain from the purchase - especially parents.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
I like them because when they were launched it was at a period where MS were trying to get a foot hold, and as such based the UK price on exchange rate compared to US, rather than dollar to pound, and the exchange rate was pretty good at the time. So 1200, $15 becomes 10 something, not 15.
I can imagine this changing for the worse in Europe as soon as the scheme changes.
I don't mind only buying set amounts, what is annoying is those set amounts are not the same multiples that things cost (80, 400, 800 etc).

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
I say it's about time for price transparency!

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

390 211 0.5
I never really minded things not costing the values rounded off to the point I spent all my points to reach a zero balance again.
When I got down to 160 points I'd buy another 6000 points. Then again I do buy some of the "Avatat" which is generally odd numbered values and means you can get to zero points if you wanted.

What I wish Microsoft WOULD spend their time on, is giving people the ability to change which country you are in. They get players invested in their profiles with Gamerscore and content but when you change country you are expected to start a new account. I get so much of the UK dashboard advertising, most of which is locked out for me while I'm on my Swedish IP address. Some games like Treyarch's CoD games also lock out their maps based on where your account is and what IP you are on meaning UK account and Swedish IP tells you it isn't available to you etc.

Enough of that rant though, that is a different topic :)

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,196 1,001 0.8
Confusing and unnecessary. I think its a good move.

Posted:2 years ago

#6
Finally! my account has had 160 MSP for longer than I can remember as there was nothing I could buy with them that I was interested in.

With you @Barrie! I wish the would change that. No matter where I'm at I always get the Spanish Dashboard.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Alan Quayle 3D Programmer, Ubisoft Montreal

1 0 0.0
As Barrie says this could be a real problem for those of us that have moved countries. I currently can't buy any of the things that use "real money" even using a uk credit card because it detects i'm in Canada at the last second and refuses to alllow it. So you end up having to make a second Canadian account just to buy things! Ok if you've only got one console but no good if you ever wanted to play your games elsewhere. I'm concerned if you get rid of points then its not going to let me buy anything on my UK account.

Also seeing adverts for sky isn't really useful =P

Posted:2 years ago

#8

James Wells Gaming Contributor - digboston.com

72 32 0.4
Well this should make things easier... Whoever approved the whole "80 points = $1" sceheme was pretty daffy anyway.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Mike Kebby Marketing Manager, Green Man Gaming

19 2 0.1
It's a great move; trying to ensure price parity for consumers across a 'fake' currency on one platform and real-world money on another has always been a headache.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

K. Al-Hurby Producer/Designer

18 1 0.1
Agreed.

Good riddance.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Ryan Duffin Animator

8 0 0.0
"Well this should make things easier... Whoever approved the whole "80 points = $1" sceheme was pretty daffy anyway."

It wasn't daffy; it might've not been transparent and it might've let to more points being sold but it definitely wasn't a dumb move for MS to use points instead of money. I use points for XBLA and DLC, never Avatar crap. Which means if I've bought something, I am guaranteed to have points remaining; money sitting with MS til my next charge-up, where I will overpay again. It wasn't a transparent system but it was a smart one, when it comes to making money.

But I agree with Barrie and Alan above. Xbox isn't as bad as Steam when it comes to physically relocating but there's still a lot of room for improvement. For expats (a comparatively small population, I know) points are a lot less confusing than dealing with two or three different real world currencies.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Mike Wells Writer

62 29 0.5
So how will people without credit cards buy stuff (eg, those who are too young)? It wasn't perfect, but it was a clever system initially, giving Microsoft control over exchange rates and hiding the true cost of pointless tat, as well as giving retailers a stake in the game. It became confused with Zune and mobile phones where some things were cash on one platform, but not on another and the real price wasn't the same. MS clearly wants to sell more non-game content to a non-game audience, and that means switching to something more familiar to a wide audience. I get why they have to change it, but I will miss it (a bit). What will be interesting is how it affects uptake of premium DLC (eg, maps) and I'm sure it ties in with the move to more publisher-side subscription (eg, COD Elite) and first-time-buyer-only initiatives ("Worth 10" promos, etc).

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Also, I found in last years xmas promotion, it was cheaper to buy things on games for windows with live points, becuase the points prices were based on US prices, where the UK prices were more

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Hakki Sahinkaya

43 32 0.7
Woot, good riddance.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Julian Toseland games podcaster/website

23 6 0.3
This is something we discuss probably weekly on our podcast, me for one I applaud it and as above I too think its time it was changed to a "real world" currency, but, and its a big but.....someone above gives it a quick mention, if us in the UK are treated unfairly then its completely wrong and in someway discriminative, they have to abide by world currency conversions, that is the "only" way this system works properly, and fairly.

Posted:2 years ago

#16
Microsoft points were always a scam. It's like hot dogs and buns, you could never get the exact number of points you wanted for the content you would buy and would then have unused points lying about generally not enough to buy anything you wanted. It always seemed to me like Microsoft was just trying to get the money up front for future purchases. It's about time they did away with them and put actual values on things. I also agree that prices need to be in line with standard exchange rates, however, those often fluctuate and so that will probably never be the case but it certainly should not be 15/dollar/euro/pounds either because of the cost of living differences in the markets. Maybe that's what they can use to adjust international pricing, the cost of living index.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Or just set price bands in line to the current value of points, so a game that costs $15 still costs 10.50. But I don't see that happening. Maybe it will see movies on Zune falling from their stupid pricepoints though.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports

96 87 0.9
Points were and still are a good idea. It's a great way of keeping currency fluctuations out of the online stores. You keep everything at their 800, 1200 etc MSP prices in the store and the only part that needs to be updated per region is the value of MSP. I always bought everything on points cards so for me it make no difference whether I'm buying them in points values or real currency values.

So for those of you paying with credit card, sure you won't have points left over, but do expect all those prices to be rounded up. You won't really be saving anything. Transactions cost money; it's far more efficient to do a $40 transaction than lots of little $1.99 ones. The cost will come back to you in price hikes.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News

58 23 0.4
Points were brilliant, but consumers were too stupid to understand what a great thing they were. They let a game be 800 points around the world and have currency fluctuations dealt with behind the scenes, plus enabled the amazing sales on points that you can reap the rewards from.

PSN cards go on sale very rarely, and for limited discounts - nowhere near the deep discounting found on MS Points cards. I don't know why people want that to go away.

It's not like a cash system is going to be better for small exchanges anyway. There will still be a minimum you must spend, just like on PSN.

We're losing here, and people are cheering because they just don't understand.

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Chris Nash QA Engineer

47 23 0.5
I don't think MS are going to let people just spend 4.99 for an arcade title - as Rod says, the transaction fees will mount up, especially given the prices of things like Indie games. Most likely they'll implement a wallet system and make you fill it with at least 5 of "credit" - so that 4.99 game requires a 10 upfront payment, turning the old "500 points for a 400 point game" gripe up to eleven.

More worrying is that this might give them license to ignore the exchange rates, turning a $10 game into a 10 and making instant profit. And also, with MS points, you could sometimes find cheap sources of points cards, bringing down the cost of your games further. Not to mention competitions and giveaways with MS points as prizes...

Posted:2 years ago

#21
So XBL Rewards will give out cash now (or is defunct)?

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Gary Eller Studying animation, Westwood College

2 1 0.5
I am neither pro nor con in this one, as it doesn't really affect me at all, I will still purchase things all the same as it doesn't change the value of the games. Who cares?

What would affect me is if Microsoft would make a console that doesn't break every 9 months.

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Bo Larsen Reviewer

5 3 0.6
I'm curious to see what will happen to the prices in my region as well, but overall I think it's a great change.

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Daniel Chenoweth Editor, AusGamers

14 5 0.4
But if they allowed people to change their countries when they moved, then they would no longer be able to ream Australians with regionalised price points usually double those of North Americans after currency conversion.

Posted:2 years ago

#25

Drew Dewsall Editor, Game4Anything

11 0 0.0
I think it is a good move to be honest I have had around 450 points on my machine for ages. If I top up and buy something then it still leaves me around the same amount, unless I want to buy some avatar crap (which I don't) or something similar. However, I am wondering is whether this will get changed into real money when the switch over happens or will I lose this 450 points could be a real headache for some poor sod in MS accounts!

Posted:2 years ago

#26

Wesley Williams Quality Assurance

133 72 0.5
It's a sensible move, but for me personally, I'd imagine it'll mean I buy less XBL content. I find it easier to buy content when I don't know the exact price. I can justify it to myself more if I already have a stock of points on my account. Additionally, I tend to stockpile points, when the cards are reduced in price, rather than buying points from Microsoft. I don't imagine I'd be able to buy a 10 pre-paid card for 8 or 9 in a sale...or would I?

Posted:2 years ago

#27

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
Depends on how it's implemented but honestly i won't ever be buying anything from MS Live! services again after all their issues with accounts being hacked, restrictive online terms (moving country is mentioned above, for instance) and also restrictions with how you use indie content (which is where i'm more likely to pay for something).

Posted:2 years ago

#28

Brian Smith Artist

197 87 0.4
I'll be glad to see them go. It seems that they've used pricing external to the US market to subsidise it a little at the cost of foreign players. Good if you are in the US, not so good elsewhere. I know it's never a huge amount but you've always been able to get them cheaper in the US and with them being region locked it was always unfair.

Posted:2 years ago

#29

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
For expats (a comparatively small population, I know) points are a lot less confusing than dealing with two or three different real world currencies.

Speaking as an expat with several PSN accounts, I find dealing direclty with the several different real-world currencies much easier. Keep in mind that points are not parity: just because something costs 800 points in both the U.S. and Japan does not mean that it costs the same amount of money. If you want to compare prices between regions, you end up having to convert points to yen and dollars and compare based on the exchange rate anyway.

Posted:2 years ago

#30

Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology

179 0 0.0
couldnt they just keep the "point" scheme but make it easier to understand?

eg: 10 points=$1 or something like that.

Posted:2 years ago

#31

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