Why Microsoft Points Are Actually Awesome

What you’re probably thinking. Stop it!

Well, maybe not awesome. But definitely better than the common perception would have you believe.

Recently I had an epiphany. For the past few years every time I made a transaction on Xbox Live I tried to convert the ever-annoying Microsoft points into dollars in my head so I could figure out how much money I was blowing. I realize now that while it’s not a very intuitive system, it’s actually not that bad.

Here are a couple of strategies to help you get the most bang for your virtual buck:

Games are typically 240, 400, 600, 800, 1200, or 1600 points. This equates roughly to the following scale:

240 MSP = $3.00 US Dollars
400 MSP = $5.00 US Dollars
800 MSP = $10.00 US Dollars
and so forth

So there is a baseline for conversion (80 MSP = $1.00), but because there isn’t an actual dollar amount on the cards people tend to sell them for much cheaper than “face” value. Typically the deal I look for is buy.com’s $40 for 4000 points, which pops up from time to time on slickdeals.net (If you don’t know about slickdeals, check it out. So many great deals!). $50 worth of MSP for $40, and they offer free shipping. That’s a whopping 20% off. Keep your eye out and get it fast, they tend to sell out well ahead of schedule.

In addition, I would suggest following @majonelson on twitter or checking out his blog. As the Director of Programming for Xbox Live, he typically has the inside scoop on any deals that are coming up. And if it’s on Xbox Live, it’s going to be discounted at some point, so unless you absolutely need to play that copy of Jenga (yeah, wtf), hold off until it’s on sale. Side note: Jenga is on sale… right now! See picture below. If for some reason you want to play Jenga on your Xbox.

Combining these two strategies has saved me a bundle of money over time. If you know of any other ways to get a little extra value of out XBLA, let me know and I’ll put them up here also.

Of course, there is the nagging question of why some games are so damn expensive:

I’m going to have to get a Kindle to fulfill all of my Yahtzee needs

But that’s a post for another time.