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  #1  
Old 11-14-2006, 07:15 AM
Aaron Roma
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Default Microsoft Points: Deal or No Deal?

http://www.applematters.com/index.php/section/comments/1640/

"As we all know, purchasing songs, videos or games from the iTMS only requires a customer to create an account and have a valid credit card. Thus, like most other business transactions, you purchase a good and the price of that good is billed to your credit card. It works the same way at the grocery store, at the gas station or in a restaurant. And for the most part it seems like a pretty good system. Plenty of people have credit cards and they understand the concept of purchasing items with them. So, how, you ask, could Microsoft screw this up?"

James Stoup over at Apple Matters offers up a rather strong opinion of Microsoft's decision to base the Zune Marketplace on their Points system, rather than cold hard (plastic) cash. This has been a topic of much discussion since the details became public. While I detect just a tad bit of bias in Mr. Stoup's post, he does bring up some valid points, while completely overlooking some of the benefits of such a system. His post did get me thinking about the pros and cons of the point system. I won't go into detail about the drawbacks (purchasing in preset amounts: $5, $15, $25, $50; the points "conversion": $1=80 points), you can gleam those from the above article. In the best scenario, the Zune Marketplace would support points AND credit cards. (Maybe this will be rectified in the future.)

Since we are limited to points for now, I do want to point out a few of the benefits of the point system. The most glaring benefit being the integration with Xbox Live Marketplace, and being able to use these points to purchase content from both. Also, using the points system facilitates parents setting up an "allowance" of points for their children, rather than turning Susie loose with a Credit Card. In my opinion, however, the biggest benefit could still be yet to come. The points system allows for the creation of a "micro-economy", that could enable the distribution of custom-created content. Imagine creating a hot new background for the Zune, and then being able to "sell" that background for 10 points. Your new garage band wants to get it's name out there? How about selling your custom tracks for 25 points. What about the possibility of Microsoft extending it's XNA Game Studio to the Zune for custom game creation? Now you can see your addictive new game for 15 points. There is a similar system to this used successfully in the eBook world, where you can purchase short stories for pennies from a "micro" account that you preload with $5 at a time. What are your thoughts on the Microsoft Point system?

 
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:22 AM
Jason Dunn
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I think people are getting a bit too freaked out about this - mostly because they probably don't have Xbox 360's and really have no clue how this whole ecosystem works. Anyone that has an Xbox 360 knows how simple it is to buy a stack of points, then use them to buy arcade games, themes, avatar pictures, etc.

I suppose the only pepole that might have a truly legitimate problem are those who are on a severely limited income and can only afford 99 cents at a time rather than spending $10 on a stack of points...but then what the heck are they doing buying a Zune?
 
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:44 AM
Darius Wey
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I'm pretty sure half of the reviewers who have taken a jab at Points have never tried it before. It's very successful on the Xbox Live Marketplace, and will become even more so when the Xbox Live Video service launches.

While a lot of people are critical now, I do think they'll accept it as time goes on. Although, what will help is if Microsoft offers an online Point-by-Point purchase system, so you can buy however many Points you need at any given time.
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  #4  
Old 11-14-2006, 11:38 AM
Sage
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As I mentioned in the previous thread about points, the annoying thing about them is that games are priced in multiples of 400 points (400 for old arcade games, 800 for most original games and 1200 for premium games) but generally points are bought in multiples of 500. I wanted to Gaunlet for 400 points, but I was forced to buy 500 points with my credit card in order to purchase the game. I could spend that last 100 points on gamer pics or something similar, but personally I would consider that a waste. Imagine if you only want to buy one song for 79 points. Being forced to buy 500 points in order to purchase that one song is going to represent very poor value.

Apple sell (and give away) song credits and pre-paid cards worth a fixed value. You never need to plug your credit card details into iTunes in order to buy music. The only one who really benefits from points rather than dollars is Microsoft. What can you do with points that you can't do with actual money? Microsoft points are just another form of currency akin to "Disney Dollars".

Personally, I'm more interested in the subscription service.
 
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:49 PM
Jason Eaton
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Ah the old 10 hotdogs sold in a package but only 8 hotdog rolls in a pack. Before we go comparing iTunes to Zune, just want to point out that Apple isn't exactly without fault either.

If you get a $25 dollar gift card, authorize it, then purchase one song for $.99 cents the amount of credit in your account is now $24 dollars.

We all know what happend to Richard Pryor in Superman 3, stealing that extra penny so...
 
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:00 PM
Aaron Roma
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Eaton View Post
We all know what happend to Richard Pryor in Superman 3, stealing that extra penny so...
Or the guys on Office Space.
 
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:11 PM
Janak Parekh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
I think people are getting a bit too freaked out about this - mostly because they probably don't have Xbox 360's and really have no clue how this whole ecosystem works. Anyone that has an Xbox 360 knows how simple it is to buy a stack of points, then use them to buy arcade games, themes, avatar pictures, etc.
Here's my main problem about points: it obscures the underlying cost of song(s). Now, if the labels were honest I might not care. But I don't trust them to not exploit this by selectively or slowly raising prices without the consumer noticing. With Apple's model, it's hard to notice.

--janak
 
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