Microsoft has used Microsoft Points as a way to purchase downloadable games for the Xbox 360 game console for several years. It has also used the service for purchasing movies and TV shows from the Zune Marketplace and DLC for both Xbox 360 and games that use Games For Windows Live. Now a new report says that Microsoft Points are being used in a new Windows Phone 7 game for in-game microtransactions.
The Electronic Theatre web site reports that the Windows Phone 7 game with the microtransaction support is called Beards and Beaks. It's the first game made for the smartphone operating system that was developed and publishing completely in house by Microsoft Game Studios. The game itself has the player controlling a group of gnomes who have to deal with a hostile group of crows that have invaded Gnome Town.
The game gives the player a number of special powers and abilities to help defeat the crows. However, those gnome powers are fueled by mushrooms. While the game lets the player get a new batch of mushrooms when they complete levels, the player could run into a situation where his or her mushroom supply runs out before that happens. In that case the game allows the player to dip into his or her Microsoft Points to refresh their mushroom supple. While the first mushroom resupply using this method is in fact free, additional mushroom packs must be purchased by using 40 Microsoft Points. Here in the US, that's the equivalent of 50 cents.
The article speculates that Birds and Beaks was developed not just as a game but also as a test for these new in-game transactions. It will be interesting to see if other Windows Phone 7 games use this business model.