Microsoft Brings Real-World Currencies To Xbox LIVE This Year — How Does It Affect Us?
Microsoft has confirmed that by the end of this year the Xbox LIVE Marketplace will no longer utilise Microsoft Points (or: Magical Sexy Points — I prefer that name) with real-world currencies coming into play.
“Our goal is to make this transition as easy as possible for you,” said the company. “After the next Xbox 360 system update, when you go to buy something or redeem a Microsoft Points card or code on your console with your Microsoft account, we’ll add to your account an amount of currency equal to or greater than the Xbox Marketplace value of your Microsoft Points, which will be retired.”
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This, of course, completely goes against their whole motivations for introducing Microsoft Points in the first place, when many consumers argued against virtual money. Apparently the message took a few years to get through to Microsoft, but hey, they’ve been rolling with real-world currency on Windows 8 for a while now, so why not incorporate it into Xbox LIVE as well? And plus, it just kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?
With the move to a new form of payment online, Microsoft will be releasing ‘Xbox Gift Cards’ which will be available in our local currency via online retailers as well as online stores.
What this means for us as South Africans, though, is not such a grand concept. See, the way conversion used to work with Microsoft Points, we got things a lot cheaper locally, than they were actually worth. So a game retailing for the equivalent of $20 would be available for less, locally, and in Microsoft Points. At times, a lot less. With the move to real-world currency then, we’re more or less back on a level playing field with the rest of the world.
However we might actually be worse off for it, given the current exchange rate. That means where a $20 downloadable item would have cost R150 for us in SA, it might now cost R250 instead.
So make what purchases you can, while you still have time.