Online retailer Amazon is now selling Xbox Live Arcade games on its website. The system is in Beta now.
How it Works: You give Amazon the money for the game you want. You receive a code. You enter the code into your Xbox and, voilà: You have a new game.
Why it's Good: No more having to use Microsoft Points. Also, it's easier to gift a game to someone this way.
My Opinion: Hey, Microsoft: I already have a point system where I determine the worth of things; It's called "money" and it's pretty much universally accepted.
It has always confounded me that Microsoft added a layer of complexity to exchanging cash for goods -- it's such an elegantly simple, time-tested process! Seriously, I have to do currency conversion to find out how much Braid costs? I guess Microsoft instituted the system with the hope that players will end up inserting more money than they take out... or spending more because it's "points" and not "dollars."
I've often found myself a few points short of what I wanted, forcing me to cough up five bucks instead of the two bucks I needed. How can you not feel taken advantage of in that situation? The whole scheme has always reminded me of those old-school arcades that had games that ran on tokens and not money, or street fairs that sell food tickets instead of accepting cash. You always leave with some unspendable tokens or tickets in your pocket, so why do it unless it's to wring every last cent possible from consumers? Maybe you have an answer/rationale for Microsoft points. Is there any positive side of Microsoft points I'm missing? Tell me in the comment section!
Update: Ask and you will receive. Our comment section alerted me to this post that explains Microsoft's position on the matter. Thanks, guys! Basically, M'soft says it sells points in bulk to avoid credit card transaction fees. But it still stinks for consumers. Besides, if avoiding fees was Microsoft's only motivation, why the weird exchange rate? Why does 100 points cost $1.25 instead of $1.00? A penny per point would at least make the math easier, eh?
I hope Amazon selling Live games heralds the end of Microsoft Points forever, although I seriously doubt the company will drop its points. That doesn't seem like Microsoft's style.
Also interesting: Amazon just started buying and selling used games, and now this. Someone over there must have decided that games were a good space for Amazon to move into!