updated 03:05 pm EST, Thu January 21, 2010
Xbox Live and Zune may use real currency
Microsoft's Xbox group product manager Aaron Greenberg in an interview this week has hinted the company may back away from its dependence on Microsoft Points for purchases on at least the Xbox. The executive noted that the response to using actual dollars with Games on Demand has been "really good" and that the company may expand this to the rest of its services. No clue was given to G4 as to how likely this is, but Greenberg admitted more up-front pricing is a concern.
"We never intended to ever mislead people," he said. "I think we want to be transparent about it, and so it is something that we're looking at."
Any change to Xbox pricing would likely have a ripple effect on the Zune Marketplace as it too depends on the same points system. Without the Xbox to drive the majority of Microsoft Points sales, the incentive to continue the system would be reduced significantly.
Originally, Microsoft had chosen the point system to maintain consistency across its stores in various countries. As a game, add-on or media download would cost the same amount of Microsoft Points in all areas, the company only had to adjust the prices of point blocks for each country. Critics have however attacked it as masking the real price of a download and particularly for leaving Xbox and Zune customers with significant amounts of unused points with each purchase.