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XBox and Zune Points Are NOT the Same Thing

On Monday night, my nephew watched a documentary on Netflix about the making of Indie games on the XBox platform. After the show, this committed PlayStation Fanboy decided to download the Super Meatboy trial, one of the games featured in the documentary, to my XBox. Thirty minutes later he and a friend got sucked in the game, threw down $20 bucks and said, “buy me this game”, which required 1200 Microsoft points.

At the time I was purchasing some songs on my PC through Zune (actually using some of my free song credits), so I went into settings and purchased 1200 points, adding to the 437 I already had in my account. Got my receipt a couple minutes later, but when we tried to unlock the trial on the XBox, I got an error code (80153410) despite the fact that my additional points had been registered. Logged in to XBox Live on my PC and checked the error code which basically said that there was a problem and I should try back in 72 hours. WTH. Tried purchasing through the PC and got a similar error message.

Fast forward to today and after attempting to purchase again with no success, started an online chat with an XBox Ambassador, who directed me to XBox Customer Support. After explaining the situation and allowing access to my account, the CSR verified that I had enough point in my account to purchase the game and was stumped as to why I couldn’t. He did note that the points I purchased on Monday were listed as Microsoft Zune points. He put me on hold to try and find a solution. While I was waiting I got to thinking about the whole Xbox-Zune thing and concluded that it was probably at the root of the problem. When the CSR got back on the phone, I explained my theory and he acknowledged that it was the first thing he asked when he put me on hold. But his techs assured him if the points appeared available, “It didn’t matter how they were purchased or used. They are Microsoft points, not XBox or Zune points”.

He decided to escalate my issue and move my call to Tech Support. While I was on hold I opened XBox Live, purchased 1,600 more points and tried purchasing Super Meatboy. You guessed it. Purchase went through in about 3 seconds. No problem. After about 10  minutes another CSR got on the phone and I explained I had solved my problem. I think I explained the problem and solution, but can’t say for sure if the CSR grasped the nature of the problem or if Microsoft will do anything to resolve the issue long term. After all, Zune is all but dead about now.

So I now have 2,037 points in my account, 400 that I know are XBox points (from my earlier 1600-1200 point purchase) and 1200 that are Zune points (the 1200 I purchased Monday). That leaves me with 437 points that I think are Zune points, but may be a mixture of both. I already know that Zune points wont work with XBox Live purchases. Not sure if XBox Live points will work with Zune. Moving forward I will only be purchasing points via XBox and suggest you do the same. Consider yourself informed.