Rumor: Microsoft Points to Be Phased Out

ms points

This morning, one of the big stories on the gaming interwebs seems to be the rumor that Microsoft will be phasing out their hated “points,” which is the company’s dumb currency used to buy items and content on Xbox LIVE, the Zune Marketplace, and the Windows Phone.

The rumor comes courtesy of a post on Inside Mobile Apps, which cites an anonymous source “with knowledge of the company’s decision.”

The post notes that, “by the end of 2012, all transactions will be based on the region set on the purchasing account and real money will be used to purchase all Windows Phone content.” The post also goes on to explain that the move would also likely affect the Zune Marketplace and Xbox LIVE transactions.

I have a feeling that most people would be pretty happy about this change. The conversion ratio between dollars and MS points is confusing, at best, and always annoying. It’d be nice to be able to buy Xbox content with actual money, without having to go through the steps of buying chunks of points and having awkward leftover balances (I have 20 unused and unusable points sitting on my account—hackers, have at them).

Not to get all “conspiracy theory” on you, but it’s likely that the points system was first implemented to a) force gamers to buy more points than they wanted through the different chunks ($5 for 400 points, $10 for 800 points, etc.), thereby earning more money than is actually being “spent” on content when balances are left over, and b) to confuse gamers to believe that content is less expensive than it is. So if a game is only 400 points, it feels like it’s only four bucks, when in reality it’s a dollar more. The same goes for games that are 1200 points—that sure seems a lot cheaper than the same game that sells for $15 over on the PSN, when in reality it’s the exact same price. I’m not saying that the “lower” price will induce a gamer to buy on one network over another, but rather that even a subconscious perception of a low price will induce consumers to buy more in general. Things feel like a bargain when they’re not.

The post speculates that the decision behind this supposed phase-out of the points system is to bring the Windows Phone more in line with the Android Market and App Store. If the move is true, it’s probably borne out of a need to want to feel like more of a competitor in the mobile phone market, whereas now, I’d guess that most people say, “Oh, Windows has a phone now? Is it Android?”

Inside Mobile Apps sought comment from Microsoft on the supposed phase-out, to which they received a pretty stock reply: “we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

Via Inside Mobile Apps

  1. One things that is very annoying though is the tax. I like buying prepaid cards because I don’t want to give anyone my credit card info. So one time I bought $20 PSN card to get a $20 game, and I couldn’t because it was more then $20 in the end due to taxes. So I’m fine with MS points.

  2. I always thought it was a collect interest off your money type of manuever. But whatever. Everybody knows Microsoft doesn’t have enough money. Hence the Live Used Car Sales Pitch. Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!!!

  3. I would not be saddened by this at all.

  4. This information is true as the subway ms point give aways stated “NOTE: Microsoft Points will expire from your account at 11:59 PM PT on December 1, 2012. You must spend these Microsoft Points prior to this expiration date. ” It is not the code that expires it is ms points on my account I also read in the reply to me redeeming a 2800point card that ms points will expire

  5. I am also rather concerned with the taxes that would then be added. The points system wasn’t/isn’t difficult to understand, but rather it’s quite simple. You might be paying a little more, but I don’t think anyone cares with such a simplistic system of “points” or “blocks”.

    It could also be an issue with differing currency values.

  6. So instead of fixing the hacker problem they are forcing you to enter in your credit card details?

    Sounds like they thought this through.

  7. points lol its like you playing xbox with points man thats a big joke there for currency

  8. I like the points system. If I buy 2100 points for a later use, in the future, it will just feel like i’m only spending points and I will feel better using those points than a direct debit. Sure, i’m still paying the same price, but it doesn’t feel like i’m paying at all.

  9. One word to describe this. Meh.

  10. Do you still have to pay money to play online on xBox?
    I prefer my Pc (and ps3) because i don’t want to pay for both having internet and playing online…

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