Tuesday, April 11, 2006

'Microsoft Points' Explained

A lot of people seem to be either really confused, or really annoyed, around Microsoft's points system on Xbox Live. I thought I'd take the time to detail what they are, why they're used, and exactly how much they cost in real terms.

Microsoft Points (read this to find out the details of why Microsoft uses 'points') are used as scrip in the Xbox Live Marketplace, which includes the Xbox Live Arcade. These points may be purchased in bulk with a credit card drawing on legal tender and may then be exchanged for various downloadable items and services. Such an implementation allows Microsoft to collect interest on unused credit and as a side effect also reduces the amount of interchange fees paid to the credit card acquirer since it reduces the overall number of credit transactions.

This system also has benefits for the end user. On the original Xbox Live, transactions had to be around $8 to $10 (the minimum for most credit cards). But with Microsoft Points the price for almost anything (maps, skins, levels, demos, etc) can be much lower than that. This can translate into being a big deal financially.
For example, let's say you want to get one of the new maps for your favorite shooter, but you're not that interested in some of the others. Marketplace can offer each map individually for just a few points, rather than you having to download $8 worth (an entire map pack), meaning savings to you.

You are able to purchase Microsoft Points on Xbox Live, or at various retail locations, and redeem them in the Xbox Live Marketplace for downloadable content, games, demos, trailers, and more.

Points cost per region
Each region is billed for Microsoft points in their own local currency.
However, the pricing does not necessarily reflect current exchange rates. This means that some regions pay more than others.
Take a look at the chart below. It contains the pricing information for five different countries in their respective currencies, but it also shows how much 500 points costs in US Dollars converted from each country's currency. This chart was made using the current market currency exchange rate (April 11th, 2006). Day-to-day converted prices will fluctuate depending on the exchange rate, but the chart can be used as a rough estimate of how much each region pays for content.
Note that the table does not reflect on the purchasing power of a given dollar amount in that country.

500 Points1000 Points2000 Points5000 PointsPrice Per Point500 Points (USD)

From this, you should be able to see that us Aussies have, by far, the best deal on MS Points at the moment due to currency rates.

Note also (to those who are complaining about MSP's) that this sytem provides for an incentive for developers to publish downloadable content. You'd be the first to complain if there were none, I'm sure.

Let me put it this way (it's a fairly simple concept): If you have an issue with it, don't fkn download it!
Vote with your wallet ffs. Nobody's forcing you to pay.. so quit complaining.

Besides, it's actually up to the publishers to set the price, if any, not Microsoft. MS only host the content, and do not have wholesale governance over the content pricing. Most of you complainers will happily fork out for an add-on map pack for a retail game (like Battlefield2) on the PC @ $49.00 to get half a dozen maps and a couple of extra weapons or skins.. most Xbox Live content is between 40 - 400 points. That's $0.60 - $6.00 in the real world, let alone the content up there that's actually FREE right now.

Bring it on say I.


At 9:08 pm, April 11, 2006, Blogger sambo_nz said...

'Scrip' explained:
Judging by the amount of emails I've already received, some of you are unsure what 'scrip' is. (..no, it's not a typo)

Courtesy of wikipedia.org:
"Scrip is any substitute for currency which is not legal tender. Scrip is a form of credit which was extended to any company employee who had accrued a salary. Historically scrip was designed to be used at the designated company store of the employee. There are documented instances where scrip was accepted at multiple companies and their specific communities."

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