Looks Like We're Stuck With Microsoft Points For The Foreseeable Future

When it was announced that Windows 8 would accept actual human money for music and video downloads, there was speculation that this new system of payment would be applied to the Xbox LIVE service, where we've been suffering with the current Microsoft points system for way longer than I personally care to remember. Sadly, it looks as though we're stuck with the space bucks.

"Microsoft Points continue to be the currency for purchasing content for the Xbox 360 console," said a Microsoft spokesperson, speaking to The Verge.

This is frustrating, and genuinely prohibitive for Xbox LIVE as a service. I have legitimately held back on purchases on Xbox LIVE because of the protracted points system, that forces me to have leftover points, that attempts to distance me from the money I'm spending. It's dishonest, and with all other services moving away from this system, Xbox LIVE is starting to look increasingly archaic.

Very disappointing.

Microsoft confirms cash for Xbox content in Windows 8, Microsoft Points remain for Xbox 360 [The Verge]


    I've never understood the problem with having "leftover points" - this is only a problem if you're never going to buy anything from the service ever again.

    But I do agree that the attempt to divorce the points from the real money is a deliberately dishonest attempt to prevent you realising how much you're spending. It actually has the opposite effect on me, such that I just assume that everything is more expensive than I think, and stop myself from buying them on a whim.

    My biggest complaint, though, is that one of the strengths of space bucks is that you can buy them in bulk, but spend them on true "microtransactions". e.g. you should be able to pay 1 point to get a hat for your avatar, whereas it would be impractical to make a credit card transaction for the same amount. They've never tried transactions at this level and it's a lost opportunity.

    EDIT: Though you could still do the same thing with "pay 1 cent" if they switched the service over to a minimum payment and wallet system like the PSN. So yeah, it's a shame that they haven't ditched the space bucks.

    Last edited 10/10/12 11:34 am

      I see a problem with leftover points. I want to purchase the one thing I want at that time, not just have credit sitting around in case something I like gets put on the store.
      I buy some arcade titles and some DLC for games, but I definitely will not spend my money on crap for my avatar. Leaving people with small amounts of points left with which they can't buy real game content but happens to be enough for avatar crap, (that really should be free anyway), just reeks of a system designed to get more money out of people than they would otherwise spend.
      And whilst I do intend to continue using XBOX live it isn't rare for there to be at least 6 or nine months between there actually being content I wish to purchase. At those times it would be nice to have the money in my own account, and not at MS just waiting for something I may, (or may not), wish to purchase in the future.

      I had my leftover points: they disappeared (about 1500) when I changed my hotmail email address, and MS wouldn't refund them. If I was paying cash for each transaction, I wouldn't have lost them.

        If they have truly disappeared, keep hounding them. That is against the consumer laws in this country. If they won't do anything about it, complain directly to Microsoft in Australia, possibly by post. You will probably find that they respond promptly. In the very unlikely scenario that they don't refund you, you have the right to take them to a higher body.

      I never really understood the leftover points argument either. The little bits of leftover points eventually add up to an amount where you can either buy something, or not have to buy as many points in order to make your next purchase.

        It forces you to keep putting into their system and because you can only buy in bulk, if you're just shy of having enough points for whatever you're after, you have to end up buying more points that will give you more leftovers that are essentially committed to another purchase.

        When I'm buying a piece of DLC, I want to just buy that DLC. I don't want to get a little bit of credit towards the next DLC I buy, I want to just pay for what I'm buying and be done with it. If you were making a payment with real money, it would be ludicrous to suggest you overpay at the store and have them give you that money as store credit.

        I want control over my money. By using these point systems, I lose that control.

          Allthough, EB Games actually does that... gift cards!
          Though one thing that is good, is sometimes you can pick up LIVE points at retail through markdowns (though that's abit rare lately) - actually, Dick Smith had actually got an 2 for $40 with 1500point cards, at the moment, if anyone didn't already know :)

          Last edited 10/10/12 7:34 pm

      The problem is when you want to buy something that costs say 1200 points, you need to buy 1000. You should be able to purchase the exact amount of points you need to buy the content you're buying and not be limited to set amounts.

      Also there's the fact that the point value is divorced from its real-world value - it's easier to spend 1200 spacebucks than it is when you're looking at $15 or so. Plus we still pay far more than we should for points given that the content delivered is completely digital.

      The problem is when they sell them in increments of 1000 or 1500, but then the average price for game DLC is 1200. That's a problem, when I now have 300 points left, but I can't actually buy anything with those points (apart from useless avatar crap)

    The issue with leftover points I think is moot for those of us who buy with pre-paid cards. Whether I buy a 1500 point card or a A$25 dollar card I will still have leftovers.

    As for being distanced from my money. Well I am an adult and can work out the real cost of items I buy so that is not really an issue I think.

    This just seems like one of those things that some people like to bash to MS about. I game across all platforms and couldn't care less about MS using points. Remarkably it does not impede my ability to play games on the Xbox or to buy content when I want to.

      Yes, having leftover points is a limitation of the prepaid cards. It's a problem when you are paying directly with a credit card at the point of purchase and you are only given the option to buy points in specific amounts.

      i dont by avatar crap but those points arnt ussles

    I cant say i have ever had an issue with MS points personally. Yeah sometimes its annoying when you want a cheap XBLA title and you have to buy a pack that leaves with 200 points extra, but really, I know I'll spend it eventually, so its not a huge issue for me.

    I have only once bought an avatar item, just for laughs. But really, i know what the value of my money is, and often for the xbla titles, even if I take into account the cost of those left over points, its still a great bargain for what im buying. Mark of the ninja for example, id have been happy if it cost me the extra 200 points, as its a truly great game, and worth ever penny.

    To all the "Whats the problem with leftover points" crowd i have one question.

    Would be accepting of any other store (say ozgameshop or JB) forcing you to buy a $20 gift card to purchase an $18 item?
    As you know you will buy more games from them so can use the left over $2 on your next purchase.
    From your comments it would appear you would have no issues with this? Am I correct or is XBL somehow different?

      For starters, I never said I liked it. Just that it's not a big enough deal to worry about when I am sure will buy things from them later. I guess I am personally lucky enough that I am willing/able to live without those few dollars in my pocket in the intervening time. But I would still prefer if I had the option to just buy the content directly, as with the PSN.

      If JB started doing it, I would not like that either. Though if I was buying stuff from them regularly, then yes, I would be accepting of it. For the same reasons I outlined above.

      One thing that does makes XBL slightly different is that (unfortunately) it is a closed system where we can't really shop around. You can sometimes buy the games on other systems, but if you want something for your Xbox you have to buy it through their store front. So you have one repository of credit that you will always return to.

      If all the physical stores were running this racket then it would become more of a hassle, because shopping around would become harder, and the "few dollars" I'm willing to ignore in one or two instances would grow into "many many dollars".

      However it might be good if mainstream stores started doing this - the wider public backlash would quickly put an end to it, and it might force MS to change their practices too.

        Hey… I never said anyone ‘liked it’ either but I do have to question anyone that says they don’t see any problem with a purchasing and pricing system specifically designed to ensure the consumer ALWAYS has left over credit.
        Sure, it’s not a MASSIVE issue, it certainly hasn't stopped me from dropping my hard earned on the XBL store. Also, sure, its not a huge amount of dollars for each user. In fact I am sure MS put a lot of analysis into just how much of a difference there should be between the smallest amounts of points you can buy vs the prices of games in points.
        They have to make it just small enough that users don't mind having it tied up but just big enough that you are pot committed to XBL when that new cross platform game comes out and you don’t go to the competition.
        It’s an underhanded way of trying to tie you to their store and I honestly can’t see how you DON’T have a problem with it.

          You're right. It is underhanded. Many things that companies like this do are.

          But I like using the XBLA service otherwise, and you do admit that the concerns are quite small in the scheme of things. So I choose to just deal with it, because it doesn't ultimately hurt me and raging on the Internet won't change it.

          For that matter, neither will arguing on the Internet. So I'm done with this topic now :)

    My plan to get around this is to never buy Microsoft points again. I'm doing well so far!

      I used to say I would never buy points or even buy digital. But they beat me by having games I wanted.

      feels so dirty.

    Looks like they're stuck not getting any money from me for the foreseeable future.

    For those guys not understanding the beef with leftover points, well most of us are Australians right? Then looking at it this way might help:

    You go to restaurant and have a nice meal for $15 and hand the cashier a 20 and they keep the change and say "thanks for the tip!" I mean it's not as bad as that right since next time you visit you can have an extra bread-roll! On the house! (that you already paid for)

      Very much not. You're still free to spend the money how you choose. The equivalent would be $5 off your next bill.

        But the fact they have that $5 above the product you desire is against your will. they have it and can do what they like with that $5 until you want $5 of something later (think gift vouchers.) You can't spend that $5 how you want, it's locked into that restaurant.

        Maybe I should have worded it better like: the only thing on the menu that's worth $5 is a bread roll, here have a bread roll! We totally haven't used that $5 you didn't want to give us...

    I don't mind the point system however there are obvious issues. I don't like that we Aussies have to pay an extra $3 for every 500 points which builds up quickly (approx $24 as opposed to round $15?).

    That and the stupid prices for certain content like 560 points (forcing you to buy extra because of those 60 points). If anything the points system should be "revised" or "improved" but not necessarily outright removed.

    The points annoy me. I hate them. But the thing that worries me more is the pricing. Right now the Aussie dollar is worth more than the US dollar, it has been for a while. Yet we get charged about 28% more for MS points which are digital items. That means Mocrosoft is netting a HUGE unexplained markup fro every Aussie that buys anything.

    And secondly, as much as I hate points, I disagree with the article claiming they are dishonest. I can't think of anything dishonest about the system. It's a crap, annoying system, but not deceptive.

    One good thing is the Xbox Rewards Program - if you haven't activated it yet, do it, as you'll always get points back on purchases each month.

      Yeah the Rewards has been a nice bonus cuz I've always seemed to have more points than I banked on thanks to it (and often rewards are meted out for things you'd do anyway - like watching iView for instance!)

      My only gripe with the points is the cost in AUD, currently 1200pts is $15 in the US but something like $19.60 here - that's a hideous difference and puts me off buying things at full price.

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