Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Review Update: Xbox 360 and the Xbox Live Marketplace

Just read a Blackfriars' Marketing: Zune Marketplace pricing too cute by half by way of MacDailyNews and it got me thinking about the 40 MS Points I have sitting in the Xbox Live Marketplace, time to provide another Xbox 360 Review Update
For all that Microsoft got right with Xbox Live, foisting an alternate currency on consumers to buy anything is just wrong. I am not complaining about that cost of the service because I think it's perfectly reasonable to charge for something like this, I am purely worked up because this is entirely anti-consumer, and MS is trying to expand their currency to the Zuna Marketplace and anything else that involves a monetary transaction.
Apparently MS doesn't have enough money in the bank. What gets me the most is that, as the Blackfriar's Marketing points out, you are giving one of the biggest companies in the world, $40 Billion in the bank, a LOAN. How is this? You cannot buy just the points you need for a transaction, you have to buy them in preset denominations that are almost guaranteed to leave you with a balance, so MS has some of your money and you get nothing.
MS Points make me LESS likely to buy, not more. Say I see something on the Xbox Live Marketplace that I want to buy, they are actually making it hard to spend money. I would nearly always have to add points to my Xbox Live account, then buy the item with points. If MS had just used dollars, the transaction would have been over a few steps ago. Why? I have to figure out the stupid conversion to dollars to see if the item is worth me spending my money on it. MS you really think people are stupid enough to not feel when they are getting fleeced just because you have this points barrier in the way?
What is that exchange rate again?Right now, $1.00 is worth about 78 points, so a point is worth $0.0125 dollars. Say I have 40 points sitting in my account, that's $0.50 worth of points. What happens when MS decides to inflate the minimum amount of points needed to buy something, my points are suddenly worth less than when I bought them. Can I "cash out" my points? No. Whatever balance I have in my account is totally at the mercy of Microsoft's accounting department, everything costs more than listed because you can't just buy that item, you have to buy a pack of points. Insane.
Bye Bye Xbox Live Marketplace. So with all that said, I have decided I will not be buying any more items from the Xbox Live Marketplace. The only way MS understands that the scheme they hatched sucks is if consumers vote with their dollars, or lack of dollars. I will still download demoes, videos, anything free, but MS you can forget about me buying anything ever again. Enjoy the 40P/$.50, I am sure you can compound interest that into hundreds of dollars before I die.