It's a big move for Microsoft
, and while some think it couldn't have come fast enough to suit them, some can't help but wonder what all the fuss is about. Still, on Xbox 360, cash is now king thanks to a big move from Microsoft.
Pretty much ever since the Xbox 360 got started, the way to get things via digital download
on Xbox Live Arcade was by way of Microsoft Points
. Microsoft Points were purchased via credit or debit card online, or in stores with any method that shopkeepers would accept. This left some people a little discomfited, as trying to do math to figure out how much a game cost in actual dollars left some cold.
For those with Microsoft Points, fear not; said points are still valid, and have been converted into actual cash for use on Xbox Live Arcade as normal. In stores, Microsoft Points cards can still be sold, and will be for some time, as Microsoft doesn't plan to roll out gift cards based around actual cash until around the end of the year.
Fundamentally, nothing has changed. Points have been changed to straight currency, both in individual users' accounts and in terms of pricing the actual titles themselves. Where before, you may have paid 80 points for a game, now you will pay a dollar. Though this is indeed perhaps the smallest of changes, it's likely to make a difference psychologically, and potentially, even in terms of sales.
It's entirely possible that, before, some users might have been hesitant to buy a game for the attempt to do the conversion. Just how much is "800 Microsoft Points," some may have wondered, and just how much of a dent would it have put in my budget for other things I need and want like gas and food? Some, not wanting to make that call, might pass up on purchases. But by like token, Microsoft may well lose those who would have shrugged, saying "it's only points!" and made more purchases than may have been made without the conversion to points.
Still, having a look around at some comments and forums and the like seems to suggest that most prefer the change to dollars rather than points. Though how this will translate in terms of sales is the kind of thing that won't be known for some time, it will still be well worth keeping an eye on, especially as the Xbox 360 will start waning soon and be replaced with the Xbox One. The final numbers may not be around for a while, but Microsoft may have put itself on an excellent footing for the next generation.