Recently, Microsoft Points have been introduced to the public as online credits that you can use to purchase digital
content from all of Microsoft’s different platforms. Even though there are many free content that you can download in XBOX Live Marketplace, there are premium content such as games, expansions, even movies and music that can be purchased using these points. Gold subscriptions to XBOX Live that enables users to gain access to premium services can also be renewed or purchased by using these points.
You can get Microsoft Points through your credit card. There are also prepaid cards that are being sold in convenience stores, game shops and other retail outlets. Usually, the conversion is USD 1.00 to 80 points. If you are looking at buying a game that is worth 400 points, then you are most likely spending USD 5.00 for that title.
There are different denominations available for Microsoft Points, but the most popular among prepaid cards is the one valued at USD 20.00 or 1,600 points. Many users without a credit card are now able to buy points because of this payment system, like teenagers and students with a regular allowance. Many people also use the prepaid cards to reduce charges in their credit cards.
These points can be used in XBOX Live Marketplace for purchasing XBOX Live Arcade games, gamer tag pictures, themes, and content. You can also use points to change your gamer tag. Right now, the points are region locked, so if you purchase points for the US, you will not be able to use this to purchase content in other regions such as Europe or Asia. You can also use the points to purchase movies and television shows as well as music through Zune Marketplace.
There have been a few criticisms about the usage of these points as some claim that it can be quite deceptive. Most songs are being sold at USD 0.99, but are labeled as 79 points. Also, you have to purchase the points in bulk, so even if you buy only 1 song, the rest of your credit is being stored in the system so you pay money upfront.
Competing companies such as Nintendo and PlayStation have also released prepaid cards that can be used to purchase content in their online stores. It also uses the same payment system mechanic. If you are into XBOX 360, you should try out getting new content in your console by purchasing them through Microsoft Points.