Microsoft Points Were Never Meant To “Mislead People”

Microsoft Points Were Never Meant To “Mislead People”

Like Nintendo’s currency of the same name, Microsoft’s “Points” have been confusing people since they were first released, humans being accustomed to think of money spent in terms of, well, money spent. Not some abstract points scheme.

If it makes you feel any better, Microsoft never meant for MS Points to confuse you. To mislead you. “We never intended to ever mislead people”, Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg told G4. “I think we want to be transparent about it, and so it is something that we’re looking at. How can we be more transparent and let people see it in actual dollars?”

He goes on to explain “no matter if you’re on the yen or the euro or the dollar — something that’s 200 points is 200 points everywhere around the world”, which apparently makes things easier on Microsoft. Except… the points themselves don’t cost the same from region to region, undermining that uniformity.

On the bright side, when it comes to Microsoft’s Games on Demand pricing – which uses real currency – Greenberg says the “response has been good and absolutely it’s something we’re looking at doing [elsewhere] “.

Microsoft Provides Updates On XBL Friends Cap, Listing Dollar Amounts [G4]


  • i hate the points system with a passion. you can only purchase certain amounts whereas the ps3 uses actual $’s. so if something costs me $15 all i need to pay is $15 and not have left overs constantly!

      • Yes, but things on the PSN actually cost those preset amounts, rather than less. The only real restriction is that you need to add at least $15.

          • Minimum funding is $10. So, you buy something less than $10, you’ll have leftover. Buy something more, and it will fund your PSN wallet with THAT AMOUNT. $12.95 on PSN is $12.95 out of my credit card. So, not like M$ point where you are practically guaranteed leftover.

            It’s the reason I don’t buy things on live, or even sub to live gold anyway.

  • And because with money if you buy something priced at 10 bucks you’ve spent 10 bucks. With mspoints you spend 16.50 and have change you can’t use elsewhere and this encourages you to waste it on useless crap like gamer pictures or avatar pants

  • IMO the system is totally bullshit… they sell the points in 500, 1000, 2000, etc… yet games cost 400, 800 and 1200. That is so amazingly dodgy, like as though they think people don’t notice they’re being ripped off? They make it so you ALWAYS buy more than you need… I like the idea of a uniform points system, but gimme a break, you need to be able to enter in a specific amount you want to buy…

  • Yep, it’s bullshit.

    Microsoft love the points system precisely because it does mislead. It divorces the product pricing away from actual money.

    I’d love to see how much interest they make on the points system too. Millions of people multiplied by 200 points here, a 100 points there… It all adds up, and it adds up to a very big number. ALL of it in Microsoft’s favour.

    Not to mention the points that never get used.

    They need to get honest, and advertise games at a real price.

    What the hell is wrong with simply stating a USD price? Of course, the price has to include GST in Australia, and other taxes elsewhere, but if everyone else in on the globe can manage this mighty feat (Apple, anyone?) then I’m sure Microsoft, with all of their resources, can do the same.

    The problem is: they don’t want to.

  • The entire concept comes from some cleaver cognitive psychology. For years companies have been selling products at $199.99. Everyone knows they do it and even why they do it (just in case you don’t its because something in the 100s looks less than something in the 200s). However, even though we consciously know, we still respond positively toward it. There is something in our heads that says this is much cheaper.

    It is the same with MS points. Despite MS points and dollars or whatever currency both being abstract concepts, our familiarity with our own currency means we understand the value of a product compared to others. Because we are unfamiliar with MS points, we cognitively don’t compare the value of something on Live with other products, despite knowing the conversion rate. You see similar phenomenon when people travel.

    MS points are not about convenience for anyone, they are about getting you to pay more than you normally would in retail.

    The other issue is the blocking, selling in 500 point chunks, but most meaningful content comes in multiples of 400, leaving you with 100 left over per 500 to spend on meanless content such out themes, avatar outfits, etc.

  • “no matter if you’re on the yen or the euro or the dollar — something that’s 200 points is 200 points everywhere around the world”

    Yeah, only those points cost an extra 1.5x here, regardless of the actual conversion rate.
    This is yet another reason I like the PSN better than XBL.

  • Excellent points everyone!

    I just wanted to add that once you purchase your points using a credit card that’s intergrated into your LIVE account, it CANNOT be erased, not unless you input a different credit card details in its place.

    How dodgy is that!?

    Is this is place so that hapless parents, whom shell out for their kids, are brlinded by their kids spenditures without their consent?

    Argh, MS have been really pissing me off lately… As soon as I cancelled my renewal to Live, my Elite died on me, what a coincedence, huh?

    Anyway, something tells me these folks are out to suck every penny we have… every single one… greedy [email protected]!

  • “no matter if you’re on the yen or the euro or the dollar — something that’s 200 points is 200 points everywhere around the world”

    That’s a great ideal. I wish Steam would adopt it, so I don’t pay 2x the amount for half of the big-name games up there.

    • But you’ve missed the point that it still costs you 1.5x / 2.0x the price to buy those MS Points than in other regions. So they still do have regional pricing – it’s just hidden and misleading.

      So far successfully stayed away from any G4W purchases and their crummy points / block system.

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