On Sony’s PlayStation Store, you can fill your virtual wallet with denominations based on real world currency. You can add $5, £5 or R50 to your account and know exactly how much you’re spending. Microsoft’s Xbox Live is a little different. You buy points; an arbitrary virtual currency where 800 of them is equal to roughly $10 – depending on which you region you buy them in. It can be a confusing system – especially when it’s not particularly universal.
According to Inside Mobile Apps, by the end of the year, Microsoft points will be no more.
At the moment, smaller downloadable titles and DLC on Xbox Live are available to purchase using points – but full Xbox 360 games are listed in real currency. On Windows Phones, apps are listed in real currency…but in-app purchases and avatar props are bought using points. The move to real currency would help unify the systems and bring them in line with Apple’s App store, Steam, and he Android Marketplace. According to the site, all prices on these digital storefronts will be converted to your region’s currency – as will your lot of unused points on your account.
Another criticism of the points system is that users are often forced to buy points they don’t need – as the smallest number of points that can be bought is 400. If there is an advantage to the arbitrary Microsoft points is that it’s often possible to find them discounted, something that might no longer happen if they have a real-world value attached to them.
What do you think? Do you like how points works, or will you be happy to see the end of them?
Last Updated: January 24, 2012