Are the Days of Microsoft Points Numbered?

Dale Dietrich —  April 18, 2008

Microsoft Points Card I recently listened to the March 31, 2008 EGM Live Podcast (download) where Garnett Lee interviewed Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft’s Director of Product Management for the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. Among other topics, Aaron had the unenviable job of defending the concept of Microsoft Points (time index 17:40).

Reading several articles today on Sony’s pending PS3 on-demand service (see here, here and here) and Sony’s pending Playstation cards, to be denominated in local currency (here), it occurred to me that Microsoft’s use of points alone is going to become increasingly untenable as Microsoft’s key game/movie/TV show download competitors all offer competing products denominated and purchasable in local currencies.

Below I discuss Aaron’s arguments for Microsoft Points and what, to me, are overwhelming competitive arguments against them.

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4 responses to Are the Days of Microsoft Points Numbered?

  1. Good analysis. I always wondered why the points system existed at all when other e-tailers of digital content (iTMS, etc) were so successful pricing items in regular dollars.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with points itself – useful for parents/adults gifting/control for kids, etc … but the “non-matching” 79 points equals $.99 is just a sham – not just annoying in adding stupid complexity but implying we (the customer) needs to be scammed, tricked or treated as idiots to make a little more.

    Selling a music track for 79 points implies that it’s $.20 cheaper than iTunes but in reality, $.99 buys you 79 points. Anyone above the age of 14-months ago can do the math so who are you fooling or WORSE, trying to fool? And why do they feel the need to?

    It implies that it’s like a time share or selling Amway – what’s the point? To make an extra $.10 from the unused $5 block of points? Really? To create all that extra papaerwork for $.10? Things that bad in MS land? Why not just charge a $.10 handling fee?

    MS seems to think people are morons – that’s the problem.

  3. Using points makes sense only if all content costs the same in all regions (which I don’t think it does) and is available in all regions (which I know it doesn’t).

    That being said, I don’t think that the points system is that big of a burden on users.

  4. I’d like to see the Points system go away. Doubt it will though…