I've been earing in these last couple of weeks, to all the ranter that came up about the possibility of Microsoft discarding the Microsoft Points (MP) system and turn all the transactions to money only. I have to admit I was somewhat surprised to see so many people supporting the idea, but after reading some of their explanations I can understand why. The most logical to me, is the fact that you always end up with leftovers of Points whenever you buy something, since the amount you can buy to begin with is always diferent from the prices of any given item in the marketplace. So, you end up either spending those leftovers in something you don't need, or in alternative you will leave then pilling in your account until the next time you need to buy something.
But I have to ask: Is it that terrible to have 40 MP in your account that you can't spend? I mean, if you actually care enough about the issue, that means you buy items in the marketplace. And if you do, all those small amoutns of MP that remain in the end of each transaction, will add to a interesting amount after 4 or 5 buys (40 x 5 = 200 MP) , so unless you are thinking of making a single buy on a rare ocasion and then never again use the marketplace, those are Points you will always put to good use as long as your not a compulsive spender.
Even so, I reckon the system isn't perfect, and I understand when people claim that the whole thing is just a way for Microsoft to make you spend more money that you actually wanted.
However, let's also look at the other side. The MP system apeared mostly by consumers pressure, since when the online transactions/ marketplace concept was put in place, the security of those transactions was a real concern for many, who then demanded an alternative means to pay that didn't involve releasing your credit card info. And that's the main concern I still have right now and a shared concern with many European users no US/UK.
Will there be any alternative to those people who don't want to add their credit card info into their account? let me just remind you that there's still no localized suport from Microsoft to deal with questions regarding the credit card. If you don't live in the States or the UK, and for any reason want to remove your credit card info from your Live account, your ONLY option is to go trough the US Live suport to get them to do it. If you don't speak the language, to bad.
This, together with the diference in the provided service in Live (see previous blog entry), depending on the country your in, kind of looks like Microsoft his somehow turning itself back into US and UK as their only relevant income sources.