Xbox LIVE (or Microsoft) Points are an easy way of buying things on your Xbox 360. These points are the currency of the Microsoft universe. They can be used in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, Games for Windows-Live Marketplace, the Windows Live Gallery and Zune online stores- in exchange for Windows and Zune content.
Purchasing Xbox Live Points
Obviously the cost of these magic Xbox Live points differs depending on where in the world you are buying them from. At this moment in time 1000 points will set you back £8.20 in the UK and around $10 in the US. You can find out prices in other countries by checking the Xbox site. You can also purchase pre-paid cards with values of 400, 800, 1200, 2100 and 4200 Microsoft Points- these make and excellent gift for the gamer in your life and can be purchased both online and in the real world, from places like HMV, Amazon, Clinton Cards and even, supermarkets.
What can you buy with Xbox Live points?
But what is the point? Why can’t we just use our own normal money? Well to that I say; where is your sense of togetherness? Where is your passion for getting involved? By making its own personal currency, Microsoft successfully built their own little world, and are bringing gamers from around the globe together. Everyone pays the same amount of points it is a simple, effective and a great way to create a community atmosphere. Community is exactly what the Xbox network is all about and points are the legitimate first step here.
What exactly can you use the points for then? Quite simply, buying things! The Microsoft Points work exactly like cash. You can save them up, or spend them all at once on any of the content available between the two Marketplaces (LIVE and Zune). This means points can be exchanged for games, expansion kits, pictures, movies, themes etc. You would also use them if you wanted to change your gamertag.
The Future of Xbox Live Points?
Now while all this might be true, and while the points may give users a sense of camaraderie, and while Xbox LIVE points seem to have been successful so far, there are rumours surrounding their discontinuation. Certain media outlets have said that Microsoft are looking to phase out the universal currency and return to a cash for products system, but so far Microsoft have refused to comment on rumour and speculation. In my experience a statement like that generally comes right before an announcement, so be prepared to say goodbye to your points by the end of the year.
It may have something to do with some criticism that Microsoft points has come under in recent years- alluding to the fact that the point pricing makes things appear cheaper than they are. Whatever Microsoft decides to do and for whatever reasons, I am sure users will get behind them because that is what a community does.