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.