The Secret of Microsoft Points


Are you aware of how much money you have spent via the Xbox Live Marketplace with your Microsoft Points? I mean do you really know how your spending totals up? If you are brave enough to face the truth about how much you have spent, here is a way to find out your total for the past several months. ( I recommend you do this when your spouse or significant other is out of the house or at least sleeping peacefully in the next room.) Log into your account via Microsoft’s Billing and Account Management website. Click the “Points” button in the column on the left. From there you can access each month’s points usage by viewing the corresponding month’s statement. Simply total your points purchased from all of those months then go to a Microsoft Points Converter. Enter your point total in the appropriate box, check your particular currency, and find out how much you have spent on your XBLA games, extra maps, gamer pictures, themes, and all the rest of your little gaming must haves.

Surprised by your total? I have purchased 8,600 points in the last 11 months which totaled $107.50. Not so bad. These seemingly “micro-transactions” can add up surprisingly fast for some people though. Microsoft’s explanation of why they chose their point system from

Points let everyone on Xbox Live—Silver and Gold members—pick up content to enhance their entertainment experience, opening up the Marketplace to everyone in the world that is connected to Xbox Live. But the big deal here is that Points allow what technical types call “micro-transactions.”

On the original Xbox Live, transactions had to be around five dollars U.S., the minimum for most credit cards. But with Microsoft Points, the price for most anything—maps, skins, levels, demos, and more—can be much lower than that. That’s a big deal. For example, say you want to get one of the new maps for your favorite shooter, but you’re not that interested in a few of the others. Lucky for you, Marketplace can offer each map individually for just a few points. Now that’s savings.

Is it savings, or is it an elaborate marketing ploy to force you to pay more for things? Hiding the money we have spent behind points makes it easy for you to forget how much cash is flowing out of your wallet. Not only that, but the points are never available in the increments you need them in. You always have to buy more than you need as the amount you can buy is not flexible. You want to buy an 800 point arcade game? You need to purchase 1,000 Microsoft points. You want to buy a .79 cent song for your Zune? The smallest available purchase is 400 points, or approximately $5. The Microsoft Point system. Brilliant for them in terms of profits. How is it working out for you though?

13 Responses to The Secret of Microsoft Points

  1. xmiyux says:

    Luckily for me i only spent 81$. Although to be fair at least two 1600 point cards were gotten for 1/2 price or cheaper through things like Google checkout etc.

  2. I always keep track of what I spend and set a budget for myself each month. It would be really easy to get carried away, otherwise. There’s just a lot of really cool stuff sitting out there on the Marketplace.

  3. Waffle Deluxe says:

    I usually use none of my points at a time… its quite fun!

  4. Crazy A 64 says:

    I’ve done just £15.64 last year. Not bad at all, but I do find myself refusing to buy stuff often because I refuse to buy x-hundred more points than I need in order to buy any one item. 210 credits right now… pretty sure I don’t want a fricken virtual T-shirt, maybe a dog? Oh no wait, they’re 240! Damn it!

    Didn’t Penny Arcade do a comic on this some time ago??? Go intewebs go!

    • bs angel says:

      I spent $48.48 in 2009. I don’t buy a lot of things on the Marketplace so I’m not surprised my total is that low. I am surprised that Microsoft points have an expiration date though. In July I apparently had 260 points expire. Guess I need to read the fine print a little better!

      • Crazy A 64 says:

        They expire?! Holy fuckballs… Moral dilemma, do I buy more in order to spend money I’ve technically already spent or do I simply bite the bullet and overspend on last years stuff by 210 credits? Either way I’m not buying a freakin T-shirt! ;)

        • L337MA573R says:

          I think I read somewhere that only points one from contests will expire (ex. 1 v. 100) while ones you buy last forever. (and yes, it uses the ones about to expire first)

          I’ve had some points for at least a year that haven’t been used until just recently. Chances are, you just won them and forgot.

        • bs angel says:

          I’ll have to remember to research the expiring thing. I can’t remember winning points but then again, I do have the worst memory ever. I’ll dig around later and see what I can find about that.

  5. L337MA573R says:

    Damn, spent $88. Then again, Fallout 3’s numerous DLC’s didn’t help…..

    • Poopie McGhee says:

      Mine was $140… $40 of which were in Dec. ’09…

  6. RokNTek says:

    $205.79 from Feb-Dec 2009. That includes three or so marketplace movie rentals.

    Worth every penny. Even the RC Warthog for my Avatar… :)

    • bs angel says:

      I am going to live vicariously through you and your RC Warthog! Those avatar toys are pretty fun to goof around with at the store.

  7. RubbrDuckE says:

    wow.. I’ve spent $126 in the past 12 months
    I had to buy and rebuy some dlc’s for Fallout when I switched it to the pc.. /facepalm

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