Thanks Amazon, For Doing What the Xbox 360 Doesn't

By  |  Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 10:38 am

amazonlogoAmazon has been dipping its toes in a few new video game ventures lately. The latest from the online retailer, in addition to trading used games and offering downloadable computer games, is the sale of Xbox Live Arcade downloads.

The new service allows customers to purchase a download code for games like Braid and Marble Blast Ultra, which is then redeemed on the Xbox 360 console. Visitors can also purchase games as gifts and send the codes to their friends.

Cool stuff, but why buy this way instead of on the console itself? Simple: Microsoft has a silly download policy that doesn’t let you pay exact change. Packages start at 500 “Microsoft Points,” equal to $6.25, and since most games come in $5 or $10 increments, buying a game through the Xbox 360 sticks you with unused points. This is supposed to encourage future downloads, I imagine, but it strikes me as underhanded. What other retailer requires you to pay extra for a product in exchange for store credit?

All online game stores do this, but to a lesser extent. The Wii Shop Channel requires purchases in $10 increments, but some games actually cost that amount (more often than not, you’re stuck with extra, though). The Playstation Network lets you pay exact change, but only for purchases greater than $5. Sony’s plan is the most justifiable, in the same way that some store owners require minimum credit card purchases to cover the transaction fee.

Kotaku has a rumor that Amazon will duplicate the service for the Wii and Playstation 3, but the retailer won’t comment. Customers should be able to pay the exact amount for their downloadable games, but it’s too bad they’ll have to jump through Amazon’s hoops to do so.


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Tom B Says:

    MSFT only does well in environments where you have one corrupt schmoe you can bribe who makes all the decisions– like the Enterprise IT market. You can’t expect them to get anything right in the consumer space.

  2. itsME Says:

    haha, its funny cause it’s true!

  3. John Says:

    I love Amazon’s digital stores, such as downloadable games, digital software delivery, and its awesome DRM-free MP3 stores. Its Kindle and ebooks need no introduction. It’s helpful they are streamlining Xbox live/games too and creating the new system where no points are needed!

    On the note about Amazon, I recently came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon.

    It is at

    Maybe someone will find it useful too.

  4. алхимия Says:

    Thanks Amazon!!! =))