Xbox 360 update kills off Microsoft Points


Xbox Live users can now purchase content in their respective local currencies.

Microsoft began rolling out the latest Xbox 360 dashboard update for users Monday morning, changing users' Microsoft Points to local currency in their respective markets.

Users can now use the same digital money based on their local currency across Microsoft platforms, including Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox devices and services. Windows Phone users can view their currency by downloading the Microsoft-developed Wallet app; the Xbox website has yet to be updated to show each user's digital money amount. Previously, the amount of Microsoft Points associated with a user's account were displayed underneath their gamertag at the top left corner of the website; that area is now being used to say if an Xbox Live user is a Gold or Free member.

Existing Microsoft Points cards can still be redeemed, with the amount converted to an equal or greater value of local currency. According to an FAQ posted on the Xbox website, U.S. and Canadian Xbox Live members who redeem Microsoft Points cards will not have taxes added to their purchases made from those cards. Additionally, no taxes will be applied to transactions made with points converted to local currency in any region.

Taxes will be applied to all purchases made with money users add to their accounts; value-added taxes will be added to the listed price of content in countries that use the pre-purchase tax system, such as the U.K.

Any unused Microsoft Points converted to local currency during the update will expire on June 1, 2015.

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45 Comments

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The only prob with the latest Xbox 360 update is: When I turn it on, it tries to find Media Center. Which obviously it wont find. Because I dont leave this on 24/7. And it's annoying having to press X all the time, to cancel it. Hopefully MS or whoever will fix this

Changing your Gamertag now costs more, at least in the UK. I was thinking of changing mine last week,
which would have originally cost me 800 MS Points. It's now charged at £8.99, which is the equivalent
of 1058 MS Points. 800 Points is the equivalent spending value of £6.80 ... so it now costs over £2
more than before for something as straightforward as changing a few lines of code!

I know it's to dissuade people from frequently changing their Gamertag, which is fair enough, but to
add on a nearly 30% markup just because the old MS Points system is going away, is pure greed!

Taxes my friend... Taxes.

Article
According to an FAQ posted on the Xbox website, U.S. and Canadian Xbox Live members who redeem Microsoft Points cards will not have taxes added to their purchases made from those cards. Additionally, no taxes will be applied to transactions made with points converted to local currency in any region.

Taxes will be applied to all purchases made with money users add to their accounts; value-added taxes will be added to the listed price of content in countries that use the pre-purchase tax system, such as the U.K.

DJGM said,
Changing your Gamertag now costs more, at least in the UK. I was thinking of changing mine last week,
which would have originally cost me 800 MS Points. It's now charged at £8.99, which is the equivalent
of 1058 MS Points. 800 Points is the equivalent spending value of £6.80 ... so it now costs over £2
more than before for something as straightforward as changing a few lines of code!

I know it's to dissuade people from frequently changing their Gamertag, which is fair enough, but to
add on a nearly 30% markup just because the old MS Points system is going away, is pure greed!

MS needs that money for the Ballmer severance package!

Any unused Microsoft Points converted to local currency after installing the update will expire on June 1, 2015.

I hope Microsoft know that the practice of expiring gift cards is illegal in Canada, which I believe this will fall under the same law.

deadonthefloor said,

I hope Microsoft know that the practice of expiring gift cards is illegal in Canada, which I believe this will fall under the same law.


Points converted in the update -- not points from Gift Cards. I updated to make the phrasing easier to comprehend.

Spicoli said,
I think that might be typo and supposed to read "Any unused Microsoft Points NOT converted"

That's not a typo. The point total that was converted to real currency will expire on June 1, 2015, if you don't use it. So Microsoft converts your points to real currency, and you have a little less than two years to use it.

Anthony Tosie said,

That's not a typo. The point total that was converted to real currency will expire on June 1, 2015, if you don't use it. So Microsoft converts your points to real currency, and you have a little less than two years to use it.

I believe this type of walled off currency would fall under the gift card law in Canada. For many gamers, points cards (aka gift cards) are how the points were applied to the account in the first place. If they take my $6 I'll sue.

Who am I kidding, I'll have purchased many XBOX ONE titles before the expiration.

They should leave the money in or provide a way to get a refund. I have a few points and no way to use them (probably won't have a way by 2015 for sure)

Anthony Tosie said,

That's not a typo. The point total that was converted to real currency will expire on June 1, 2015, if you don't use it. So Microsoft converts your points to real currency, and you have a little less than two years to use it.

It just looked like a typo because it say the points will expire when they're no longer points. The currency does expire which makes no sense to me. Not that I won't spend the couple bucks I've got on there but why have any expiration.

I'm surprised it took this long. In my view the Microsoft Point system was nothing more than a scam for Microsoft to pocket lots of loose change (see Office Space for more info on this scheme).

I had to buy 1600 MS points just to buy a 1300 point game. I would love to use the remainder for another game, but sadly nothing is 700 points. Something close is 800 points, but they didn't sell just 100 MS Points. So I have to spend more to have enough for my game. MS always has 50-100 of everyone's points "in the bank". Multiply by all the users and its a substantial amount that MS had in revenue that wasn't used to purchase anything other than a "token".

Glad to see it is finally going away. Regulators should have forced the issue years ago IMO.

Spicoli said,
You've GOT to be kidding.

Are you not familiar with this scam? It was real. I'm not kidding.

I realize that there are a lot of MS...supporters... here, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is most likely a duck.

If MS wants to keep my money in a bank, the least they could do is give me some interest back.

Shadrack said

I had to buy 1600 MS points just to buy a 1300 point game. I would love to use the remainder for another game, but sadly nothing is 700 points. Something close is 800 points, but they didn't sell just 100 MS Points.


1600-1300=300

Not 700!

Shadrack said,
I'm surprised it took this long. In my view the Microsoft Point system was nothing more than a scam for Microsoft to pocket lots of loose change (see Office Space for more info on this scheme).

I had to buy 1600 MS points just to buy a 1300 point game. I would love to use the remainder for another game, but sadly nothing is 700 points. Something close is 800 points, but they didn't sell just 100 MS Points. So I have to spend more to have enough for my game. MS always has 50-100 of everyone's points "in the bank". Multiply by all the users and its a substantial amount that MS had in revenue that wasn't used to purchase anything other than a "token".

Glad to see it is finally going away. Regulators should have forced the issue years ago IMO.

I know what you're getting at but after 8 years my balance is at 0. Therefore i have not been ripped off.

Shadrack said,

Are you not familiar with this scam? It was real. I'm not kidding.

I realize that there are a lot of MS...supporters... here, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is most likely a duck.

If MS wants to keep my money in a bank, the least they could do is give me some interest back.

I'm very familiar with conspiracy theory nuts.

I can kinda see where Shadrack is going. (even if he failed at math)

;p

It is what Ebay is doing.


Holding on to a little amount of money from everyone using the service for a long time = LOTS of money for a long time = LOTS of interested paid on that money if they are deposited in an interest bearing account.

The money they earn of YOU for no effort involved. Money they earned by tricking you.

MikeChipshop said,

I know what you're getting at but after 8 years my balance is at 0. Therefore i have not been ripped off.

The only way you would have pulled that off is if you purchased video content for cheap that you really didn't need or want.

Look, if they would let you buy a variable amount of MS Points at a reasonable exchange then I would back off from calling this a scam. If I could, say, buy the extra 100 ms points to make up the 800 point I need, then that would be just fine.

I don't know how the hell you managed to get a balance of 0 MS points at the end of all of this. They priced everything specifically to prevent this from happening. My guess is you purchased some video content for cheap to spend the remainder. I guess you would have bought that video content ANYWAY right? Sure you would have... MS played you like a fiddle.

Shadrack said,

The only way you would have pulled that off is if you purchased video content for cheap that you really didn't need or want.

Look, if they would let you buy a variable amount of MS Points at a reasonable exchange then I would back off from calling this a scam. If I could, say, buy the extra 100 ms points to make up the 800 point I need, then that would be just fine.

I don't know how the hell you managed to get a balance of 0 MS points at the end of all of this. They priced everything specifically to prevent this from happening. My guess is you purchased some video content for cheap to spend the remainder. I guess you would have bought that video content ANYWAY right? Sure you would have... MS played you like a fiddle.

It would be a scam if what you paid for wasn't worth what it cost and there was no way to use it all. Fortunately neither of these are truer, so not a scam.

Shadrack said,

Are you not familiar with this scam? It was real. I'm not kidding.

I realize that there are a lot of MS...supporters... here, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is most likely a duck.

If MS wants to keep my money in a bank, the least they could do is give me some interest back.

Yup, Microsoft will scroogle you.

This 'problem' has nothing to do with points vs. real currency. The only difference is that now instead of having 200 points sitting in your account with nothing to spend it on, you will now have $2.50 sitting in your account with nothing to spend it on.

I don't understand the wisdom of using points to begin with. Was it because it was more confusing for users to know how much real money they are spending as compared to using dollar figure. Using real money seems more reasonable as user will exactly know how much something cost in a more accurate way.

Auditor said,
I don't understand the wisdom of using points to begin with. Was it because it was more confusing for users to know how much real money they are spending as compared to using dollar figure. Using real money seems more reasonable as user will exactly know how much something cost in a more accurate way.

I think I heard the excuse that MS was doing a point based system in order to lower their Credit Card charge overhead fees. Most companies are charged something like $0.25 for a credit card transaction. So I think the logic was, if MS could sell you 1600 points for $20 (or w/e) that you then use to buy 2x 800 point games they saved themselves $0.25 in credit card charges.

Other companies, like Apple, just delay the CC charge for about up to a day. If you make multiple charges to the iOS App Store (for example), Apple will charge your CC only once and give you an itemized receipt of the transaction.

The only reason I can think of is dealing with international currencies. You can run promotions and stuff giving away points without having to worry about exchange rates and changing the marketing based on country.

It was to deal with currency fluctuations and taxes. If I can buy a card for 1600 points which normally costs $20 in the US and can sell it in the UK for £20 it is effectively a way to exchange currency without paying exchange rate fees and taxes. It also avoids some laws that could require banking oversight and regulations. Done in large quantities it could be a way of money laundering if someone did it right. Now that they have the infrastructure to manage direct currency purchases it makes more sense to do it that way. Its also a way of guaranteeing that you spent a number of tokens in their ecosystem, just like arcades.

Because they could get people to buy weird amount of points that would guarantee a left over balance after they buy what they wanted. People with a small balance left will most likely want to use that balance later but since they can't buy anything with it they will need MORE points....that will leave another balance...

Rudy said,
Because they could get people to buy weird amount of points that would guarantee a left over balance after they buy what they wanted. People with a small balance left will most likely want to use that balance later but since they can't buy anything with it they will need MORE points....that will leave another balance...

Exactly.

Rudy said,
Because they could get people to buy weird amount of points that would guarantee a left over balance after they buy what they wanted. People with a small balance left will most likely want to use that balance later but since they can't buy anything with it they will need MORE points....that will leave another balance...

This is one of those tinfoil hat things that sounds plausible because the math looks solid and yet has never been backed up by reports anywhere.

Rudy said,
Because they could get people to buy weird amount of points that would guarantee a left over balance after they buy what they wanted. People with a small balance left will most likely want to use that balance later but since they can't buy anything with it they will need MORE points....that will leave another balance...

Yup, Microsoft would scroogle you.

Auditor said,
I don't understand the wisdom of using points to begin with. Was it because it was more confusing for users to know how much real money they are spending as compared to using dollar figure. Using real money seems more reasonable as user will exactly know how much something cost in a more accurate way.

That was the point(s).... To confuse, and get more from you..

Joshie said,

This is one of those tinfoil hat things that sounds plausible because the math looks solid and yet has never been backed up by reports anywhere.
It's not like MS is going to come out and admit it. But it's pretty easy to see the price of content doesn't match up with the denominations you can buy

Rudy said,
It's not like MS is going to come out and admit it. But it's pretty easy to see the price of content doesn't match up with the denominations you can buy

Right. That's exactly what I just said. There's no actual evidence, but the math makes it seem plausible. Making the jump from "that's plausible" to "that's 100% definitely the reason and the only story I'm going to believe" is the tinfoil hat part.

There's rarely ever any real evidence to back up the sort of anti-corporate attitude so many people let themselves get over-emotionally invested in. It doesn't stop them from diving into it head first, though. Everyone wants a battle to fight, stupid or not.