I dare you to read this and not cringe

Microsoft® Points (also known as Xbox LIVE points and Xbox points) are the coin of the Xbox LIVE Marketplace realm. Microsoft Points is a universal system that works across international borders, and is even available if you don’t have a credit card.

You know it’s a serious product when it has three names. If you don’t know, $10 = 800 MS points. So that means if you want to buy anything you need to do a silly conversion in your head and if there ever was a good idea, it’s to make people think twice before making impulse purchases. But the real kicker is that it’s entirely inconsistent. You an buy things with MS Points or with dollars, all depending on what you are buying. I can only buy Windows Phone apps with money but if I want to buy a movie from Zune (yeah the same app I’m using to buy my apps) I need to use points. So I go and buy points to buy a movie. And music can use either. I see points used on my PC but on my phone I use dollars. The inconsistencies are boggling.

There are two big problems here. One is that it’s not a 1:1 conversion and any barrier at all is bad. You may not think it’s a big deal to do simple math in your head but it’s really a silly ratio and there’s no justifiable reason for this. The second is the massive inconsistency in use. Truthfully, I could live with MS Points. I get it. People don’t all have credit cards. Been there. But let the user choose on ALL Microsoft products how they want to purchase content and ALWAYS give both options. There’s no excuse for making people live in both worlds against their will.

Hopefully we don’t have to wait a year for Windows 8 (and the singular Marketplace it brings) for a seemingly simple fix to come to light but being that this is Microsoft and that they created this mess and have been living with it so long I’m not entirely optimistic of anything changing tomorrow.


  1. this is the single most frustrating thing about the xbox / zune experience. Microsoft most make a lot of money off the remainder points everyone gets stuck with. We have 4 xbox live accounts in my house, and every one of them has remainder points in it, so the next time we need to buy something we will have to buy another weird sized block of points, and have even more useless leftover points.

  2. It’s a scam. You buy x amount of points to buy something that should only be $9, but in order to get that item, you have to spend $10 to get that amount of points. You’re left with $1 in points in your account that you’ll eventually use, but didn’t need to spend.

    XBox live points was one of the main reasons I never adopted the Xbox 360.

  3. Well, the main reason why payment methods like Microsoft Point are around is to give minors a way to spend money, as most of them don’t have and can’t get a creditcard.
    I think rather then killing MS Points Microsoft should extend them to the app marketplace asap.

  4. the easiest solution would be to do like nintendo does, convert 1 Microsoft point to 1 cent. then you get all of the benefits of a point system, and noe of the downsides of having 1 point worth .8 cent.

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