Big news in Xbox land: Items in the Xbox Live Marketplace recently showed up in non-Points denominations. Or, for a short period of time it looked like you could buy digital stuff for your Xbox using regular money, instead of Microsoft Points. Points are a hassle to use, making it hard to calculate what a purchase actually costs, and leave users with remainder currency that just sits.
However, according to GamesIndustry, Microsoft is pretending that the episode didn’t matter at all: “Microsoft has told GamesIndustry International that the recent appearance of real money items on the Xbox Live store was in fact a glitch, rather than a move away from points.” Sure, Microsoft.
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Here’s why TNW is convinced that the company is going to drop the Points system and move to regular purchases: The company has been tipped to be preparing to do so since January. In fact, it’s looked like a simple matter of time for months now.
In January, far before we knew much about the Windows Store, Xbox Music, or how Windows Phone 8 was set to share a codebase with Windows and thus make app porting simple between the two, we said this of the coming end of Microsoft Points:
However, by removing them entirely, Microsoft is clearing the pathway for a very important unification: the coming together of app sales on every single platform that it operates. Windows 8, which will contain the Windows Store, is a radical step for Microsoft, a company that dominates the sales of ‘software in a box.’ Digital distribution of software, through Microsoft channels, is its strategy, but until now it has been a disjointed affair.
Indeed. However, it’s not too hard to guess why Microsoft is remaining mum on the death of Points. It’s simply not ready to announce the change. I suspect that at BUILD this year, where Xbox will have a presence, it will have its store’s name changed to the Xbox Live Store, away from the ‘Marketplace’ moniker, and move to a real currency system.
Microsoft is unifying and harmonizing its platform. Points have to go. They’ve been rumored to be on their way out. And now they have cropped up as kaput in the wild. 82 days until BUILD.