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Old 01-25-2007, 10:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default The Zune Points System: Love It or Hate It?

In all of the early reviews of the Zune, common consensus amongst reviewers seemed to be that the Zune points system for buying music was an irritating, frustrating departure from what most people are used to - buying songs, one at a time, for 99 cents each at iTunes. As I read the complaints, I had to wonder how many of those reviewers had an Xbox 360 with an Xbox Live account - because if they had, the concept of points wouldn't be so alien to them. Myself, I quite like the concept of points - on Xbox Live I buy 1800 points and that lasts me for a few months as I purchase games and content that I enjoy. I don't see it as being a &quot;money loan&quot; to Microsoft as some people&nbsp; said when writing about this topic. If anything. this method is easier and keeps the credit card companies from making even more money (which I think they have enough of). The dollar amount we're talking about here is also not very significant - I don't think most people buying a Zune are worried about having $20 tied up in points and wondering where their next meal is coming from.<br /><br />What are your feelings about the Zune Points system? Do you think it's an OK system? Or do you find yourself wishing you could pay 99 cents per song and that's it?
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:17 PM
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Personally, I don't like the points system (and I have a 360). I would much prefer to be able to buy points in the denomination that things are being sold at. Because inevitabley I'll buy points and then be left with a few extra points that I can't do anything with, so essentially I paid more for the product than it's actually worth. It would be nice if I could just buy 79 points for a song or 880 points for an album.

I can see why they want to do the point system, but if they have to use that system: why give songs an obscure point value like 79? Make them like 50 or 75 points so when you buy 500 points (or whatever) then you aren't left with just a couple extra points.

I think the only redeeming factor of the point system is that you can use the same points between your Zune and Xbox360. So if I buy points for an Xbox Live game and I have some left over then I could still use those points to download a song from Zune.

It's not a huge deal, more of an annoyance. You're right, it's not like the extra money I spend is going to set me back from eating that day. It's just more the principal of the matter.

Last edited by NPrtmn4evr; 01-25-2007 at 10:22 PM..
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:25 PM
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I agree with what he said.

I like that 360 and Zune share the points however I can't stand that my balance is now like 171 points -- I preferred it when all of my remaining balances ended in zeroes. However, now it ends in 1 -- I can't ever use up all of my points!!!

Maybe it's a little OCD of me to worry about that but yeah- it's like spending money that you'll never get the full 100% of that money's value out of your investment.

Why not just round off all the portions of pennies and put them into another checking account Mr. Superman III?
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:36 PM
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I personally would prefer $.99 or an even $1.00 to the points system.
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Old 01-26-2007, 01:25 PM
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Nope, I don't like it either.

It doesn't benefit the consumer in any way. It obfuscates the price of games/music and the multiples in which points can be bought is out of sync with the points value of the items.

For example, a lot of retro games on Xbox Live are 400 points. However, the minimum number of points you can buy is 500. So, if you want to buy a game then you'll be left with 100 points, which you can either spend on pointless image packs or save towards your next purchase. But you're going to have to buy a further 3 retro games before you can use your left-over 100 points on something worth-while.

I much prefer the iTunes system - see the price in real currency and buy one song, pay for one song.
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Old 01-26-2007, 03:45 PM
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Initially, I didn't like the points system at all, but since I do like the sound quality of the Zune WMA files over what iTunes offers, I caved. Now I don't think much of it at all, and I kind of like the idea of having a bank of points to draw from without necessarily seeing a lot of microtransactions on a credit card.

I think you have to look at what you get with song purchases too: burn as many times as you like, the ability to restore your songs in case you lose them, etc. I don't believe iTunes offers either of those functions, at least not easily. My feeling is that Zune is more comparable to Rhapsody than it is iTunes, and Rhapsody has a terrific system as far as DRM go.

The thing that irks me about the Zune marketplace, however, is that the cost of full albums fluctuates so much: from 880 ($9.99) points to upwards of $15 for an album. Even some longer classical tracks will run you 280 points. That sort of inconsistency seems a little too obviously profit-minded.

I also wish we were at the point of seeing more in the way of free tracks of the week and exclusive content, a la iTunes.
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Old 01-26-2007, 10:45 PM
Jason Dunn
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Originally Posted by Sage View Post
For example, a lot of retro games on Xbox Live are 400 points. However, the minimum number of points you can buy is 500. So, if you want to buy a game then you'll be left with 100 points, which you can either spend on pointless image packs or save towards your next purchase.
Yeah, that's true. Even if you buy the 1800 point packs (I think that's the denomination) you'll end up with an odd number of points.

It gets even more complicated when you factor in that I have my real Xbox Live account and points, then my fake-American Zune Passport account with USA retail Xbox Live points...the only way I can purchase songs. I've got to write up a How To about that one of these days.
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