Will Microsoft drop its points system?
If the rumours swirling around the web are anything to go by, it seems that Microsoft might be set to drop its Microsoft Points scheme soon.
Inside Mobile Apps is reporting that a source says Microsoft will phase out the points system by the end of this year.
I've always found Microsoft's Xbox Points system a little confusing, especially when Arcade games and avatar items cost points but full-priced games on the Xbox Marketplace cost real money, but have been happy to buy them, mainly because I'm paranoid about having my credit card details stored on servers somewhere that could be open to hacking (as happened to Sony last year). Buying points cards avoided me having to enter my credit card details for XBL purchases.
I actually like the points system and though, yes, I'd like to know how much things cost in real money - how much of my money is that game going to use up? - I can't see why Microsoft can't implement both payment systems, pleasing everyone. Gamers who hate the Points system can pay for purchases with a credit card, gamers who like the Points system can buy stuff with Points cards.
One thing Points did cause confusion for was when I did game reviews of Arcade titles: my editor would always want to know how much the games cost in real money so I'd have to guesstimate!
However, though Microsoft has refused to comment on the rumour, it probably makes sense for them to phase out the points system as it will bring it more in line with its competitors. Personally, I think we'll see Microsoft stick with the card system but they'll be for a monetary value rather than points.
Sony uses real money on its PlayStation Network (you can buy cards worth a monetary value, not points), Valve's Steam service uses real money and so does Apple with its App Store.
If Microsoft does phase out its Points system, will we see two camps of gamers emerge? Those who will rejoice at finally knowing how much their DLC, avatar, arcade games cost in real money and those who will tread cautiously, perhaps reducing how much content they buy off Xbox Live, as it will mean they'll have to have a valid credit card on file to make any purchases - that is, of course, unless they introduce cards of a monetary value then no credit card needed!
What do you think about it: should Microsoft fall into line with Apple and Sony and start charging real money for Xbox Live purchases or should it stick with the Points system?
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