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Why Xbox Live Doesn't Take Exact Change 233

Posted by Zonk
from the they-want-to-make-more-money dept.
With ever-more tempting content on Xbox Live (like the awesome Exit), it's really frustrating to have to 'overpay' and buy Points in bulk. 1up got an official response from Xbox 360 group product manager Aaron Greenberg on that issue, explaining why the service always leaves you with a little bit left over: "The reason why we do that, the core reason, is around credit card transaction fees ... If we do this in bulk, we don't have to burden the consumer with the transaction fees, or ourselves or publishers. It's about keeping infrastructure costs down and I know sometimes it's frustrating because you end up with odd points, but we don't have any plans to change that." Greenberg also addressed why the service limits you to 100 friends on your friends list.
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Why Xbox Live Doesn't Take Exact Change

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  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acvh (120205) <<moc.sragicsm> <ta> <keeg>> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:29PM (#21661625) Homepage
    "We make more money this way."

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [aeshtuosbj]> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:32PM (#21661669)
      Well, yes, but then there isn't really a viable infrastructure for micropayments. The closest we have is the credit/debit card systems, Visa/Mastercard/American Express et al, and they charge transaction fees on all payments, making it a rather expensive proposition. I can see why Microsoft would rather spend 50 cents on a 10 dollar debit card payment than 50 cents on a 10 cent debit card payment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by acvh (120205)
        I can think of a few possible alternatives:

        let users run a tab, and bill their card when the tab hits a certain amount.

        set up a bank. don't charge yourself for credit card processing.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)
          The tab probably wouldn't work - I could see users switching when their tab gets below a certain point, and there's a lot of time where the user is getting something for "free", when MS could be using that money to make more money.

          A more rational point would be a minimum purchase: If a point is $0.01, then a minimum of 500 points per purchase is allowed.

          But actually, the assumption of MS is probably this:
          1) The users won't use less than $X to reinvest and make money off of it anyway
          2) n users * $X = a fair
        • LOL - Run a tab? Jesus that's stupid. You want them to _extend_ credit? Based on what? Happy Meal Toy assets?

          Setup a bank? Are you fucking kidding? Did you realize what sort of infrastructure CC companies need to have? You don't just "set one up because we want to save some dough on MS Live".
          • by afidel (530433)
            Yeah it wasn't till a couple years ago that Walmart setup their own commercial bank to handle CC processing, you have to have a LOT of volume to justify the trouble of running a commercial bank with all the overhead from MC/VISA and the Fed.
      • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:17PM (#21662499)
        three words.

        iTunes Music store. Billions of dollars worth of music sold. Credit card companies charge fixed percentages. a $.99 charge costs $0.02 for the transaction.

        Also the xbox live credits aren't full dollar amounts either. So you can't get a one-one price ratio. MSFT did this to appear to be cheaper when they really aren't.

        This is only about MSFT greed and nothing more. MSFT can collect interest on your money sitting in their bank accounts while you try and figure out a way to spend it.
        • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

          by VertigoAce (257771) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:41PM (#21662929)
          Apple counts on customers buying multiple songs during the same day. They will group all of the tracks together over the course of a day or so and send one transaction to the credit card company. Sure, there's nothing stopping you from buying one track and waiting for the transaction to happen before buying another.

          I imagine with the Xbox marketplace people tend to make small purchases here and there, not a bunch of little purchases in the same day. So you prepay and the credit card transaction happens just once.

          Finally, all of the complaints seem to be very US-centric. With the point system, MS can post a piece of content globally and list the price as 400 MS Points. In the US, I know this is $5. Somebody in another country knows how much points cost in their country. So they don't need to know today's exchange rate, content stays a fixed price, and MS doesn't need to come up with dozens of local prices for each and every piece of content. Right now the only content that isn't a global point value is the video marketplace, since the licensing fees vary by country.
          • Apple counts on customers buying multiple songs during the same day. They will group all of the tracks together over the course of a day or so and send one transaction to the credit card company.

            Yes they do, but...

            With the point system, MS can post a piece of content globally and list the price as 400 MS Points. In the US, I know this is $5.

            As you note, a price of something on live is around $5 or so. Are people, on average, buying more than five songs per day from iTunes? I doubt that is the case.

            They al
          • by pkulak (815640)
            Actually, I've noticed that the iTunes store doesn't aggregate my purchases until about a week.
      • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MooseMuffin (799896) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:34PM (#21662801)
        Well, I suppose this transaction fee explanation is actually a legitimate one, but now it brings me to another question. Shouldn't I get some kind of discount for buying points in large quantities? Me buying 2000 points at once saves them money over me buying 500 points four times doesn't it?
      • by G Fab (1142219)
        Don't the credit card companies charge a percentage? Isn't Microsoft able to negotiate with these companies?

        Sony seems to do a better job here by taking exact change or letting you add as much as you want. Except you can't get a gift card to the playstation network, which I guess is bad for the kiddos.

        Microsoft could easily allow you to buy 100$ gift cards at a 5% discount, and also take exact change (but everything in the store is not 5% more expensive). That way, everyone is served. The current scheme
      • Well, yes, but then there isn't really a viable infrastructure for micropayments.

        McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell must not have gotten the word on micropayments not being viable. Sony must be ignorant of this as well, because they've always taken exact change on the PSN.

        My understanding is that Visa charges between 1.5% and 2% plus a transaction fee of four cents on purchases under $15. My info is a couple of years old so it may be a little different now, but the basic gist of it is that if you buy a

        • There is a special place in hell for CC companies (if companies can go to hell.)

          charging a business 15 - 20 cents per transaction and also charging the cardholder 20 - 25 percent interest.
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Apple just sucks it up and pays it. Although it does suck that they have to.

        If you order a $0.99 track on iTunes, they'll not bill you for a few days in the hopes that you order more tracks before they get around to billing and can save a bit on the transaction fee. If you go about 48-72 hours without buying anymore more, though, they just suck it up and pay it. I wonder what percentage Apple's throwing away in credit card transaction fees compared to, say, Amazon. Or Xbox Live for that matter.
      • Sony sells you stuff direct, but there's a minimum $5 charge. If you buy something less than $5, you get charged $5, and the remainder goes on your balance.
    • Many many many retail establishments prohibit you from making credit card purchases under $5 because they actually lose money on the transaction thanks to fees. Nintendo does the exact same thing with Wii Points, except you can't purchase those through your console, which allows a greater freedom for input when purchasing online, though I'm sure there's a minimum. The alternative is to raise prices, or using a horrifying shopping-cart type system which users would abhor.
      • by edwdig (47888)
        Nintendo does the exact same thing with Wii Points, except you can't purchase those through your console, which allows a greater freedom for input when purchasing online, though I'm sure there's a minimum.

        Huh? The Wii Shop Channel lets you buy points in amounts of $10, $20, or $40. Or you can buy cards with points at retail stores. How else are you buying points?
      • by joggle (594025) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:20PM (#21662561) Homepage Journal
        I think it would be more fair if you could buy points in multiples of what you anticipate buying. So there could be an option to purchase 1200 points, 2400 points, etc. MS claims to be concerned about many small CC transactions. So just give more options when buying points above 10 dollars or whatever (as opposed to having to buy in multiples of 500 no matter what). This would seem to be trivially easy to implement. I think Microsoft intentionally does this so that virtually everyone carries a balance, allowing Microsoft to earn interest or in some other way capitalize on what is effectively a large savings account to them.
        • It's the Devil [penny-arcade.com] running the show....
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Another reason they might do this is so that you buy more. If you have a 200 points left in your account, you might want to add more points to you account, just so you can spend those points, because it's just money that's waiting to be spent. I have the same situation with my Wii Points account. I've had 200 points sitting on my account for months. Since you can only buy points in multiples of 500, and SNES/Genesis games are 800 points, you almost always have points sitting around. Once you buy a SNES
    • Yeah, similarly to the question of:
      Why are the Nintendo VC games so overpriced, or the Wii points.

      Seriously, with great things as Emulators and torrents I do not understand why do they sell games at £7 each!

    • I think the real reason, is to avoid angry complaints when you have to spend more per point the fewer points you'd buy. If they just passed the transaction costs on to the user, it would get wierd. I don't use box so these values are fictitious, but you could end up spending a buck on 50 points or 1,000 points for $10. It would look like they were ripping you off, and there would be a sliding scale if you could specify the number of points you bought. probably not worth the customer complaints of curious pr
  • by nickj6282 (896871) * <nickj6282 AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:30PM (#21661647)
    What a load of PR crap! We know why you can only "buy in bulk", it's because very few things on XBL come out in 500 point increments. You almost always buy more than you need, but then next time if you're 20 points short for what you want to purchase, you get more and have a 480 point surplus. It's obviously specifically designed to be a vicious cycle of always having either too much or being just short.

    The iTunes store doesn't have an issue selling me downloads a buck at a time, obviously the credit card fees aren't breaking their balls. WTF Microsoft?
    • Obviously, Apple was able to work out a better credit card processing deal then Microsoft was. Also, remember iTunes does a huge volume. Xbox Live? Not so much. Other companies do the same thing to handle the processing costs (Enom, the domain registrar comes to mind). If you don't like it, don't use them, but don't whine about it if they've stated they're not going to change it.
      • by G Fab (1142219)
        hmmm somehow sony was able to work out a better credit card deal too. "obviously."

        Naw, MS is doing what it usually does, bilking you with sleazy lame deals like this. Since I bought my first game online for my 360, I have NEVER had a zero balance again. Since I bought my PS3, I have always had a zero balance.

        MS could easily incentivize buying in bulk without screwing customers with useless change. Just give a 5% discount on 100$ "gift cards" and charge 5% more for everything. They don't do that because
    • by CatPieMan (460995) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:47PM (#21661927)
      If you've ever bought a couple songs for 2-3 days in a row, you've noticed that you only get 1 charge on the credit card. Apple will hold off charging you for a couple days to try to lump a couple purchases together to save on the CC transaction charges.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:58PM (#21662145)
      Credit card processors charge you a per transaction fee. That is just how it work, that is how they make money. Every time you accept money, regardless of the amount, on a card they charge you. That's why you'll find restaurants with things like "$5 minimum credit card purchase." At a certain point you literally don't make any money on a transaction because the fee eats it all up.

      So, suppose MS allowed you to buy points in arbitrarily small amounts. This is going to decrease the amount they make because people will do it. There will even be transactions (like people buying 1 point) that they lose money on. This means they have three choices:

      1) Make less money. They aren't going to pick this. XBL is not run as a public service, they are in this to make money. As a practical matter they need a net profit here to help offset the costs of the Xbox hardware.

      2) Pass the costs on to their developers in the form of lower payments. Bad option, you don't pay enough, people just won't develop for XBL.

      3) Pass the cost on to the consumer. This is what would happen.

      It is the same problem with micro-payments you've seen elsewhere. If you want to have small payment increments, credit card fees can kill that. This is one solution to the problem. Maybe not the best solution, but then if you've got a better one perhaps you should propose it to them? "Just eat the fees and make less money," isn't a solution.

      Please remember: If you disagree with their business model, you are free to not buy their products. The Xbox in general, and certainly XBL and the marketplace, are not necessary to life. You can just not play their game if it is unacceptable to you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Pluvius (734915)
        4) Don't have a point system. Where did people get the idea that you have to have a point system for online transactions? Just charge people whatever the item is worth and you won't have "people buying 1 point."

        Rob
        • by Jonathan_S (25407)

          4) Don't have a point system. Where did people get the idea that you have to have a point system for online transactions? Just charge people whatever the item is worth and you won't have "people buying 1 point."

          Not as low as 1 point, but I've seen some things on XBL marketplace for 20 points. That works about to about $0.25. Not exactly cost effective to handle as a credit card transaction.

          So assuming that Microsoft doesn't want to hand out credit to every xbox live member, there are only two practical wa

          • by Pluvius (734915)
            3) Charge monthly. This would reduce the amount of transactions that are below a certain amount, especially since a lot of people who are interested in buying things are already paying for XBox Live access anyway.

            Rob
          • by bit01 (644603)

            3) Deduct credit card monthly. If it's too small in any one month let it roll over to the next month or drop it for the good will. Just like the phone, utility and every other service company on the planet.

            4) Pass on any extra costs to the customer, give the customer options and let the customer decide. Just like every mail order company on the planet.

            This is not rocket science. This is typical M$ "I don't mind and you don't matter" manipulativeness. No wonder many people detest them.

            ---

            Astroturfi [wikipedia.org]

        • The idea behind something like this is to be able to charge less than you would with a normal credit card transaction, the whole micro payment idea. If you make everything a CC purchase then those fees get factored in and you discover that things cost more, and there aren't things available for really cheap.

          As an example: Suppose you offer something for download from your site. You want to try to recoup bandwidth costs, which you calculate to be about 2 cents per DL. So you charge people for it. No big deal
      • by Greyfox (87712)
        No that is NOT how they make money! That's how they make MORE money. They make money by charging the owner of the card 11 to 30 percent interest. They make money by charging you random fees for occasionally imaginary infractions. They make more than enough money doing that. They charge transaction processing fees because they're the greedy bastards they are and because they CAN.
    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      What a load of PR crap! We know why you can only "buy in bulk", it's because very few things on XBL come out in 500 point increments. You almost always buy more than you need, but then next time if you're 20 points short for what you want to purchase, you get more and have a 480 point surplus. It's obviously specifically designed to be a vicious cycle of always having either too much or being just short.

      Hm, I bet it's a conspiracy. Probably the hot dog people are involved...

    • by mike260 (224212)
      Agree. All the unspent leftover points are effectively an interest-free loan to Microsoft. I wonder how much it adds up to in total?
      Plus they've got the crappy little skins and suchlike for you to spend your surplus points on, to try and discourage you actually accumulating your leftovers into a useful amount.
  • I don't know why the number was set, but it will never change because every game would start crashing. Sorry!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by j235 (734628)
      "100 friends ought to be enough for anyone."
    • They could allow you to have a larger friends list on Live, and allow you to define which of that larger set would be visible for any given day...

      Thus allowing you to have different groups for different kinds of games you were currently interested in.

      Or, they could have one user called "other" that they could proxy in messages from friends not in the "100" to you through.
  • Carnie System (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SunnyDaze (1120055) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:35PM (#21661715)
    I believe the reason they do this is the same reason when you go to a carnival you have to buy tickets for a ride. So you never really know how much things cost. After all if it was just about making bulk payments easier then the price of things would match those bulk costs. Basically you'll always end up with change and figure you might as well buy so more so you can get rid of your leftover. All in all I hate the system.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:35PM (#21661719)
    Live has the worst online transaction set up of all three. The PSN and Wii networks are 3 clicks to remove your CC. The live network is a 30 minute call followed by a 30 day delay to unhook your Credit Card from your xbox /360. They require passwords, emails used, gamer tag, you CC#, and it's expiry date. It's asinine. You may replace your card more easily but to actually remove one requires too many hoops to jump. Where as the PSN and Wii allow you to simply remove it form the account without needing to call, and it's removed instantly. They actually required me to speak with a call center manager to remove my card. After that I will not consider buying anything from the live network again. No membership, no games, nothing.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      This is a problem I've never had with either the Xbox 360 or the Wii: I buy prepaid points cards. No such personal information required to begin with.

      I'm disappointed that I still can't do something similar with the PlayStation 3. Sony seems incapable of understanding that some of us are still paid in cash.
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Sony seems incapable of understanding that some of us are still paid in cash.

        What does being paid in cash have to do with anything? It reminds me of a caller to a radio show talking about the housing market. There was an expert on and the caller said something to the effect of, "I have undocumented income that makes it hard for me to qualify, what do you suggest I do?" The response was a polite way of saying, "If you'd stop committing tax fraud, your problems would be fewer." Your statements reminded
        • by Guppy06 (410832)
          "What does being paid in cash have to do with anything?"

          It means that online purchases made with it require that I deposit it into my bank first.

          "If you'd stop committing tax fraud, your problems would be fewer."

          The ability to buy a prepaid card allows sales tax to be collected on the purchase, rather than burdening an honest person with the paperwork of paying the use tax required for online purchases.

          "the only reason you would think that is beacause you are averse to having any relationship with a regulat
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            The ability to buy a prepaid card allows sales tax to be collected on the purchase, rather than burdening an honest person with the paperwork of paying the use tax required for online purchases.

            You are required to pay taxes for online purchases? Last I paid attention, the rules were the same as mail order, that is if they had a physical presence in the state, the purchase was taxable, otherwise it was not taxable. But that's in places with a "sales tax." Perhaps you live in one of the places with a "us
            • by Guppy06 (410832)
              "You are required to pay taxes for online purchases?"

              Yes. [wikipedia.org]

              "Last I paid attention, the rules were the same as mail order,"

              Exactly.

              "that is if they had a physical presence in the state, the purchase was taxable,"

              If they have a physical presence in the state, they are obliged to collect the tax from you at purchase. Absent that, you as the purchaser are obligated to pay it to the state.

              "Perhaps you live in one of the places with a "use tax.""

              Unless you live in a state that doesn't have sales tax, you also are
    • by tgd (2822)
      And you assume the quick procedures are doing anything more than hiding it from you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by king-manic (409855)

        And you assume the quick procedures are doing anything more than hiding it from you?

        Need i be subject to 2 verifications of information, being forwarded through 3 people. 2 of which ask for exactly the same information and a 30 day delay to remove a credit card? I don't think it's merely hiding the details. They made an intentional choice to make removing hard. A while ago I worked for a regional telecom in the call center, we took CC for pre-authorized payment. to remove it you need 1 piece of strong ID like driver licence if on account, account number if they had it, sin if on account,

  • Say there are 2.5 millions users with 160 points left over ($2.00). That 5 million for Microsoft. Plus having some extra unspendable cash in someones account makes then more likely to add a few bucks to buy something else. Then they have change left over again, rinse, repeat.
    • Its pretty much any company that sells "gift cards", they're basically pre-paid credit cards. Give Best Buy $50 now, get your "money" back in the form of merchandise in the future. Lost the card(s)? Sucks to be you! Accountants love these things cause you KNOW companies are just sitting on millions of dollars worth of these in their account books.
  • by MBCook (132727)

    OK, I'll accept that. The Wii works the same way, after all. Now how about telling me why you can't peg points to the currency like Nintendo does with the Wii? Why is it that MS points are 80 for $1 [wikipedia.org] in the US? Why the weird exchange rate? Why can't it be 100:$1 like the Wii? Or at least something I can do math with easier, like 25:$1?

    • Mainly because they don't want you to have a good "real world" cost sense of what you're buying in hopes that you spend more.
    • by dfn_deux (535506)
      MS points aren't pegged to the US dollar because they don't cost the same in every market. I think the wikipedia page for live points gives a cost break down. I think it is stupid, but look at the cost of music through the zune store and it seems that at an equivalent of 98.5 cents per track that the savings of the bulk purchase is passed on vs the 99 cents it costs through itunes ;)
  • is why there's no 1-to-1 correspondence with dollars or euros or fcking rupees for all I care. Beyond obscuring the cost, the exchange rate seems deliberately chosen to make things seem cheaper than they are.

    That said, we're talking about a grand total of a few bucks here. I put more stock in the whining about paying for online access.

    Full disclosure: I am a XBL subscriber and I want new rock band songs!
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:50PM (#21661997)
    Every interest cycle that has them keeping more of your pennies means more interest in their pocket. And if you have enough of these copper babies, they add up, and so does their interest. Sure, they'll have to 'pay' out the content eventually, but meanwhile they are the ones collecting the interest, not you.

    By the way, this is the same reason the Fed's are quite happy to help you over-estimate your income tax burden when you prepay.
  • by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:53PM (#21662057) Journal
    I hate it when stores use transaction fees as an excuse for not accepting credit cards (or creating artificial minimums). I can't tell you how many times I'd eat the fee and buy something, but walked away instead because that wasn't an option.

    I'm fairly confident the real reason they don't allow small increments is the same reason they use points -- to obscure the real cost from the consumer. As an engineer I have virtually no background in physcology, but I can say from personal experience, it's easier to spend 1000 points than $5 (even when the value of points is much greater than the dollar amount). I'm also confident that designing the system so it's easy to end up with an odd amount of points that requires a bulk purchase to do anything again was intentional (eg. I have 200 Wii points right now and the cheapest purchase is 500).
    • by plague3106 (71849) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:03PM (#21662245)
      I hate it when stores use transaction fees as an excuse for not accepting credit cards (or creating artificial minimums). I can't tell you how many times I'd eat the fee and buy something, but walked away instead because that wasn't an option.

      Visa (and I imagine MC) prohit a store from displaying the VISA logo and then refusing based on minium (or maximum) purchase prices. If the store refuses, you can contact your bank, who will contact Visa. Visa typically fines the stores that violate the policy.

      I did this once, and shortly after the signs saying "$10 min. card purchases" was removed.
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        That's the wrong solution to the wrong problem. "1 point, $1, each additional point $0.01) and you've fixed the problem. That's good for the store, good for the customers, and the charge companies can't complain. (of course, adjusting the numbers I just made up for generaaating the proper profit). And yes, you can have a minimum charge and not violate the terms for a minimum charge. It's quite easy, don't sell anything for less than some amount. The problem is when you sell something for $5 and take c
    • It's not that simple. The credit card organizations prohibit the stores from passing their transaction fee on to customers as a condition of having credit cards as an option. Brick & Mortar stores presumably price this into the regular prices for things, or just eat it as accepting credit cards increases the volume of the store.

      The problem comes in with very cheap items that really don't make sense to price above the transaction fee. Would you, for instance, pay a couple of bucks on a piece of bubble
      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        It's not that simple. The credit card organizations prohibit the stores from passing their transaction fee on to customers as a condition of having credit cards as an option. Brick & Mortar stores presumably price this into the regular prices for things, or just eat it as accepting credit cards increases the volume of the store.

        I think Microsoft should make a round number for a minimum of points, so you can at least buy two things EXACTLY with the minimum number of points you buy. This tactic is often u

  • It's called breakage (Score:4, Informative)

    by Evro (18923) <evandhoffman&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:57PM (#21662123) Homepage Journal
    ... getting people to pay for stuff they won't use. There are entire industries centered on exploiting this concept, most notably the prepaid calling card market. You pay for $20 and get $17 worth of product, and you can't use the remaining $3 for anything, so the company makes extra money on you. You see it everywhere... reward points on credit cards, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakage_(accounting) [wikipedia.org]
    • by samkass (174571)
      This is probably a small side benefit, but Microsoft's concern is real. I made the same decision on a land records site I helped design in the mid 90's (on which you bought points in bulk, and spent them on the site) for two reasons: 1. At the time transaction fees were even worse than today. It wasn't unusual to have a couple of dollars per transaction fee, which is bad if the transaction is for a couple of dollars. 2. The credit card companies at the time were weird about having people actually purchas
      • Interestingly, Apple doesn't seem to have the same qualms about $0.99 songs.

        If you only purchase a song or two, Apple will hold billing for a few days, hoping you purchase more. I've had transactions sit for a week before processing.

  • by morari (1080535) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @05:42PM (#21662955) Journal
    While I love the Virtual Console, the bulk points system is broken. It's deliberately setup so that you always either have too few or too many points. For example, I bought 1,000 points. I grabbed the Opera Browser for 500 and then was going to get Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels with the other 500. It turns out that The Lost Levels cost 600, as opposed to the 500 that every other NES game does. This is probably due to it kinda-sorta being an import, but still ridiculous. So I think, "no problem, I'll just get 1,000 more points and then grab an N64 game as well". That was before I realized that Pokemon Snap is 1,000 points in itself. This puts me in an awkward spot. I have 500 points sitting around right now and would like to get The Lost Levels. To do so I need only 100 more points. I can only get a minimum of 1,000 at a time however, so I'd be left with 900 points at best. Unless I spend that on some crappy NeoGeo game, I'll be left with spare points forever! I'd much rather just buy the titles themselves, not bulk points that will hopefully even out in a purchase.
    • by G Fab (1142219)
      You would not believe how much money the people who develop these stupid ideas to screw you make in a year. 25 years olds with MBAs sitting in rooms thinking of ways to tweak the margins for the benefit of the next quarter. In all reality, you are now a skeptical customer. In the long run, this stuff hurts the seller. But if some kid can boost profits 3% with one idea, he is going to do it even if it's going to come back and bite them in two years.

      Just be ready for this to get worse as the world gets mo
  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:13PM (#21663431) Homepage Journal
    Why do hot dogs come 10 to a pack, but the buns come 8 to a pack?

    I always end up with leftover buns or dogs, forcing my to buy more, over and over!

    It's a conspiracy!

    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_350.html [straightdope.com]
  • So, some joker typed in a made-up email address on his xbox live account.

    I now get spammed regularly by microsoft, and their internal abuse mailbox is behind a filter that rejects all mail from me as "obscene". (Apparently this is moderately widespread; it's quite easy to be on a Class C shared with someone else who spammed them once, and they have no procedure for getting unblocked from Microsoft; Hotmail actually does, but Microsoft proper doesn't.) So I can't complain about the unwanted mailings...

    Shee
  • Simply put, Sony's PlayStation Network doesn't do this. The minimum is a $5.00 charge, but it's exact change above that.

    1) You have a wallet.
    2) If you don't have enough money in the wallet, and it will take less than $5.00 to cover, then you will be charged $5.00.
    3) If the balance is $5.00 or greater, you will be charged exactly that amount.

    You will always have less than $5.00 in your wallet, or most times $0.00 in your wallet as I have personally found.

    If Sony can do this, why can't Microsoft?
  • From the original article:

    With ever-more tempting content on Xbox Live

    Yeah in any country except most of the world. The only place you can get decent content on Xbox Live is North America. Here in Japan, we can't even download Xbox Originals. Last night I tried to buy the original Halo (1,200 points). It's owned by Microsoft and published by Microsoft so there are no tricky third-party licensing issues. I can see it right there in the store tempting me. I can go through the ordering process. I can

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