Microsoft phasing out virtual currency system?

Specialist mobile site reports that publisher is looking to end its proprietary Microsoft points currency system in favor of real-world money.

Source: A report on specialist mobile site InsideMobileApps.com, quoting "a source with knowledge of the company's decision."

What we heard: Since the inception of Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, Microsoft has relied on its custom Microsoft points currency system to be the primary choice for all its online transactions. However, the system hasn't been without its criticisms, with a lawsuit over Microsoft's unused digital currency surfacing just last year.

According to the report, the Microsoft points currency will be phased out over the next few months and completely gone by the end of 2012. In its place, the software and hardware giant will allegedly begin to use real-world currencies around the globe.

The report states the move won't just be restricted to Xbox Live Arcade, with both the Zune and Windows Phone Marketplaces also making the migration over to real-world dollars.

Is it almost time to say goodbye to Microsoft points?

According to the story, Microsoft has already started informing mobile developers of the impending changes to its currency system and warned them to take it into consideration for future products.

The official story: A Microsoft spokesperson told GameSpot AU: "Microsoft doesn't comment on rumors and speculation."

GameSpot AU also contacted a prolific game development studio with numerous games on Microsoft platforms--whose identity has been kept off the record--who reported that it has not heard any reports regarding a change to Microsoft's currency system.

Bogus or not bogus: With the push for companies to develop universal platforms, it would make sense for Microsoft to want to unify its currency system under one umbrella.

If true, the change could be designed to appease mobile users, putting the Windows Phone Marketplace on par with trading practices that both the Apple App Store and Android's Marketplace abide by. Currently, users of Microsoft's mobile platform can use both Microsoft points and real-world money to purchase music and videos but not applications.

Without a doubt, this change would make buying content on Microsoft marketplaces easier to compare and understand.

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Discussion

136 comments
bonnin40
bonnin40

I would definitely say this is a good idea. If there's one thing i hate about the Microsoft points, is how their distributed, and how the content is priced. If i buy a card for 1400, i'm always stuck with 100 useless points, or i'm always just short of something else i want to buy (for example: buying a 1200 point game and being 200 points off a 400 point game).  I'll still be paying the same (for the most part) but at least now i'll have more leniency when it comes to buying games, and i wont be forced to overspend for pointless... points. 

Jinx410
Jinx410

I think that Microsoft Points becoming obsolete is a good idea. When we do get down to the brass tacks of it all, Microsoft Points and real world currencies are ultimately the same. I do, however agree that it is very frustrating when you have to go and buy points then have too little of points remaining to really put towards anything else. This makes you want to buy more, hence, making more money for Microsoft. This is a very good marketing scheme but it is not very people-friendly. That is unless you are a Microsoft's shareholder.

Falru
Falru

I know "buy virtual money so you use that virtual money to buy our stuff" is a common enough market practice to try and rope you into spending more money, but honestly the pain-in-the-ass factor is a lot more off-putting. People are more willing to spend money when they can just spend "$2.99" and not "$5.00 worth of points"

isshiah
isshiah

good, i'm sick of having to work out how much i'm actually spending when renting a movie or buying dlc.

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

Of course! Why not just have the real life amount? Silliness from MS.

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

its not Android Marketplace.....its now known as Google Play......

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

i have no problem with the points system. pay £9.99 in the shop and i have 1200ms points simple. you mentioned windows phone but i have never been able to use my points on wp that forces you to use money. i personally now they have started the points thing would like a system where you can pay with money or ms points like you can on games on demand through out there whole marketplace weather it be xbox, zune or windows phone and on xbox weather it be arcade or games on demand but games on demand is the only place you have the choice of how to pay.

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

wait a min, while i am glad about this what about rewards.xbox.com and bing that rewards you with free points which I am a fan off. I have gotten over 2500 in free points using both...

traykey1
traykey1

Oh no,have you tried to un-register a debit card from Microsoft. They wont let go.

Blastalot5
Blastalot5

It might make sense if they gave you more value for making a bigger points purchase but the ratio of dollars to points is always the same so why bother buying more than you need?

SnakeEyesX80
SnakeEyesX80

Thank God! The whole MS point thing is stupid. Plus the fact that there's a lot of content that cost 1200MSP, but they don't sell that amount, through the console. You have to purchase 400 & 800. I've also had 40MSP that I can't use on my account for months!

yman173
yman173

I just hope they give us ample notice because Ive got about 9700 points sitting out there in Xbox-Land right now. What I find interesting is this article makes no reference to the fact that Nintendo also uses a points system with the Wii. Its cheaper than MS Points, but theres been no word (that Ive heard) of Nintendo losing the points system. So the "universal" argument, at least among consoles, is kind of invalid right now.

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

What is really weird is MS uses MS points for some items and real money for others.

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

@nedrith It does not matter there is always money left over in the transactions. Both companies just need to let us pay exactly what is needed. It is the only fair way.

nedrith
nedrith

@dannyatkinson, simply not true. I use my credit card all the time to buy games and DLC off the PSN/SEN. As long as you are buying more than $5.00 off there they will take the exact amount that is required. I highly prefer real world currency personally. Nice and simple no thought required you see what you are spending.

grayoldwolf
grayoldwolf

I have no problem with a virtual currency as such. The problem I have is that 80 points equals a dollar. Yes, the math is easy for most people. But there's no NEED to do it, other than to obfuscate the true price of items. It's disingenuous on Microsoft's part, and it should have stopped years ago.

PeaceMakerUSA
PeaceMakerUSA

Points or real world money, it's all the same in the long run. If you want to download something on the consoles, you will still have either: 1) use your credit/debit card to make the purchase or 2) buy a points or a money card to make your purchases. In the long run, you are still spending money for your downloads. In turn, they will still get your money for the downloads. Me personally, I would rather use the points or the money cards to make purchases. With all the hacking going on, I wouldn't dare put my card number on any of these consoles.

slvrraven9
slvrraven9

this is awesome. about time MS......about time :)

mtait01
mtait01

When I had a 360 I hated the MS points system... such a waste of time. I Love how my PS3 just tells me plain and simple ''7.99', not 1,200 MS Points. I am happy about this change even though I don't have a 360 anymore... now Nintendo just need to get rid of their stupid points system

dannyatkinson
dannyatkinson

I think people make too big a deal out of this. Even the way Sony does it there is always money left over.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

What they do with points is a crime, simple as that.

Zer093
Zer093

This would probably be good. I don't know, I don't go on Xbox Live, but I heard some bad stories about the points system. Nintendo has already started to end their points system on the Nintendo eshop. And if you know how, you can pay just what you need for the game, without any money left over. I paid exactly $6.99 for a game the other day.

XenoLair
XenoLair

1$ = 1€ here we come. Less xbl purchases here we come.

HeartlesStunner
HeartlesStunner

At least now EVERYTHING will be the same... Not how some Downloadable games are in M$ points while others YOU MUST have CC information attached to purchase.

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

@jetjetjaguar The purchasing systems are almost identical. Either you give credit card info in exchange for points (360) or direct monies (PS3) or you buy a Microsoft Points Card or a PSN Card. The only difference between the two is Microsoft has the points system and the PS3/iTunes/Android Market doesn't. It would be smart for Microsoft to get rid of the points system. It needlessly complicates things. If you're scared of sharing your credit/debit info, buy a money card or use a disposable card number. Most credit card companies offer this now. What I want is a direct-purchase system, like Steam/Android Market/iTunes (last I used it). An add-on costs 4.99? Charge me 4.99. Don't make me buy a chunk to use part of it on that purchase and have "leftovers" just sitting there wasting away. That's why I avoid buying stuff from the consoles.

jetjetjaguar
jetjetjaguar

Hope not. I wish Sony would do a system like MS's cuz I don't want to share my credit/personal info with either game console company.

Keaze_
Keaze_

This will not eliminate the leftover points. Microsoft will do the same thing, but with real money instead. They will make us buy blocks of cash and we will still have real money left over. Where is the difference?

TheThoughtless1
TheThoughtless1

I've always hated the point system and getting deals on point cards doesn't really concern me, I've never seen a deal that validated points.

Grovilis
Grovilis

The whole point system is really insulting to gamers. Do they really think that people won't do the simple math?

Sunuva22
Sunuva22

we are better off with the points with all those at least they could get us tricky good deals before with this change we see how we're tricked and and lose more money at the same time

megakick
megakick

So instead of 1600 Microsoft points for $19.99 its' $19.99 for $19.99. So no more Microsoft point card deals. You win nothing, You lose... Microsoft wins.

WafflePrime
WafflePrime

this is good only if they let you buy exactly how much you want/ need.

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

Next step: bill to mobile. lol

csward
csward

Thank you whoever you are for suing Micro$oft. Now if they can just sue Nintendo and Sony for the same reason. I hate that game developers us points instead of money to get more money out of us. Like having to add a minimum of $5 to PSN to buy things. Want to get that $7 game? Well you are paying $10 like it or not.

digi-demon
digi-demon

Hope MS still keep keep the 'top up card' system - dont trust credit or debit car details online...

ed6565
ed6565

i actually don't mind, cuz as said i can get 20$$ worth of points for 10 bucks some times, i say if they go to real money they need to do more sales like steam does. @sleepnsurf, nice pic btw, heh heh

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

This is actually bad news as I can sometimes get 1600 point cards for $10 bucks. PSN cards, not so much because it is same as cash.

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

@100proofsoco -it's no longer money, it's credits that I can only spend on that exact amount. It's like having 80 cents in your pocket at a dollar store. Only with the 80 cents you could likely find a couple dimes on the sidewalk. You can't buy just enough extra points to get what you want on the marketplace. You have to buy more and wind up with even more unused points. It's a scam companies like Microsoft use to get you to spend more. They figure if you have that extra left over you'll spend it on crap you otherwise wouldn't. It's a marketing ploy. I get that, but it still sucks. I'd much rather pay the exact amount and get only what I want.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

But.....I give them real world money for microsoft points......

Haasdude
Haasdude

@100proofsoco - I think some people are just incredibly anal and have to spend every last point before their lives can continue.

100proofsoco
100proofsoco

@roosteraxe1 your sick of saving your points for a rainy day? you do realize its money, right?

DitchyJ
DitchyJ

@roosteraxe1 aww i dont think the indie games are a waste (some are pretty epic)...and considering that they are about to get more support and huge boost in terms of memory allocation and the possiblity of achievements - they may become just as good as the market place games.........except the stupid pointless ones like that woman who does farm noises, pictures of half naked anime girls or p**s take games that look like they were done in MS paint.

Otulissa
Otulissa

As long as they have something similiar so I dont have to put in any card info, thats the whole reason I buy the point cards.

roosteraxe1
roosteraxe1

I currently have 60 points left over on my account. Unless I want to get my stupid avatar a new hat, I have nothing to use these points on. I severely hope they get rid of this bogus system and let us pay real money for online products. I am sick of either saving my extra pints for a rainy day, or wasting them on Indy games and gamer pics. Which I think is the whole point of their moronic MS Point system. To nickel and dime us over things we don't need, but get cause we have the points left over (so why not?).

smoke_dog_4ever
smoke_dog_4ever

@DawnBlue, I can understand your position, but at least with a real monetary system I know exactly how much money I have credited to my account, instead of wondering "ok, so exactly how much money IS 40 M$ points and what can I spend that on?" This is also a huge issue with the Live point system - most games or add-ons tend to have a set price point: 1200 points, 800, 400, etc. Then you have items that are 320 points, 80, 40, etc, but you can only purchase points in 400-point increments. I'd rather have a system where I buy a $20 store credit that is recorded as $20, followed by purchasing items in real world currency, than I would purchase points for a set amount and then wondering just how much money is actually in my account. Currently my Live account has 300 points tied to it..... I don't really know how much money that is and there isn't anything for 300 points I could purchase. I could buy some avatar items for 80 points each, but buying 3 leaves me with 60 points, and I'd have no idea what THAT amount of points is worth in real world currency and I'd have nothing to spend it on. This is why I believe the system is ridiculous. It takes too much thought trying to determine just how much money you have tied to your account.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

so what will they do with your current points? will they convert that into real-world currency? honestly i wouldn't be surprised f they swithced over but didn't switch your remaining points over. or will they just allow for those leftover points to still be spent?

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

So.. maybe they will sall stuff on Live in Canada for the same price (after currency exchange) as they do in the US? ... Unlikely, Canada gets screwed in prices for everything.

DrDuncs
DrDuncs

I would like to see the option to either hook your account up to a credit card for purchases or buy a 'gift card' style card in a shop, similar to the existing points card but for real money value - eg $30 card gets you $30 credit so you know what you are paying for downloads without having to work out points to $ value. This helps out those that either don't want to give out credit card details or don't have a credit card. In addition it gives Microsoft access to the lucrative gift card giving market out there. I have frequently given an iTunes card as a present.