Microsoft Sued Over Xbox Live Points

By  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 9:11 am

One major problem with Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft’s downloadable game service, is that you must deal in “Microsoft Points,” and they come in increments that usually cost more than the price of a game alone. A lawyer has now filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft for this practice.

Samuel Lassoff, of Horsham, Penn., argues that the Microsoft Points system effectively charges you for purchases you can’t make, because the leftover points are rarely enough to buy another game, InformationWeek reports. He calls this “a scheme” for Microsoft to “unjustly enrich itself through their fraudulent handling” of his account. It’s not clear how much money he’s seeking.

This issue of point systems — which applies to Nintendo’s Wii Shop channel as well — has been a pet peeve of mine and other gamers ever since Microsoft introduced Xbox Live Arcade. It’s as if you walked into Subway, and instead of paying $5 for a sandwich, you’re required to pay $6.25, and use the rest on a future purchase. And you’re charged $6.25 on the next visit as well, making it tough to escape the cycle of leftover credit.

In fairness, Microsoft lets you pay in exact dollars for its Games on Demand service, which offers large-scale games such as Mass Effect and Bioshock for download, but the company won’t commit to charging dollars for Xbox Live Arcade.

Last week, Xbox group product manager Aaron Greenberg told G4 that the point system was never meant to mislead customers, and that currency fluctuations and technical complexities make a switch challenging. Greenberg dodged the issue of overcharging in points, an issue that has nothing to do with currency.

I’m not a judge, but calling this method “fraudulent” seems like a long shot. “Greedy and unfair” seems more fitting, even though that won’t fly in court. Still, I’m glad someone’s ruffling Microsoft’s feathers over this. The point system can stay if it means consumers can pay exactly what they want, but I’m at the point where the current system is a deterrent, because I don’t want to get stuck with the extra credits. Maybe Lassoff’s lawsuit is the kick in the pants Microsoft needs.


Read more: , , ,

13 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Donahue Says:

    Sony is also guilty. I have $1.02 in my wallet from Christmas. You can also buy some Xbox Live games for the exact amount on You receive a code to enter.

  2. Devin Says:

    Isn’t this an age old practice? I still have some tokens from arcades I went to in the 90’s that I can’t use anywhere else. Dave and Buster’s have charge cards that only allow you to purchase preset point levels – and you can’t take that card and get your money back off of it.

    The remainder points on XBL do not disappear and will sit there until you find something else worth your money. I don’t see this lawsuit going anywhere or receiving any more attention than it has here.

  3. Jared Newman Says:


    This is a little different. At D&B, there’s nothing stopping you from spending the entirety of your card balance on arcade games. Same with tokens. With Xbox Live Arcade, the extra points aren’t enough to buy more games, so you’re stuck.

    At that point, your only options are to a) buy more points b) never spend the excess points you bought or c) spend the points on dashboard themes or trinkets for your avatar.

    This is the equivalent of Dave & Busters saying that you can’t buy a $20 game card, and instead you must buy a $25 game card, the last $5 of which must be used on your next visit.

  4. Tech Says:

    That does sound dodgy. They should let you use left over points for something.

  5. tengeta Says:

    Funny, Microsoft rips you off in points and gets sued, but Sony says it straightforward and since their fanboys don’t care its all good? Pretty good laugh, both systems are a joke and are behind the death of what good gaming once was.

  6. Kimble Says:

    Never a fan of the point system…and it did bother me that i always had just enough points to NOT buy something else.

  7. Nick Says:

    Just another way for the rich to get richer

  8. Sam Says:

    I'll stick to my PC games

  9. That Free TV Site Says:

    Money Money Money…that's all its ever about…microsoft definitely needs it

  10. Today's Top Products Says:

    Sue the pants off em!

  11. christmas tree Says:

    It was only a matter of time

  12. Dr. Brad Campbell Says:
    this is a very great blog that the readers having an interest to visit it often
    more on interesting things to follow and can give the satisfactions to the people.
    thank you guise for this article.

  13. dog house plans Says:

    this is a very nice blog very much interesting especially to all wide readers please come and visit blog often.

    dog house plans