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Beta testers: Xbox Live UK prices jump one-third in real money swap (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Microsoft's upcoming transition from Microsoft Points to local currency means that prices could go up by as much as 32 percent for U.K. Xbox Live users, according to beta testers for this fall's Xbox 360 Dashboard update posting on NeoGAF.

The company launched registration for the beta last week. Under the terms of its non-disclosure agreement, all beta testers are forbidden from discussing the update outside of a designated area of the forums on the official Xbox website. But that didn't stop confused and angry users from taking to NeoGAF to explain the changes and voice their displeasure at them.

In the beta, prices on Xbox Live are listed in local currency instead of Microsoft Points, and users' Microsoft Point balances have been converted to local currency. According to beta testers, the currency changeover is a double whammy: All content on Xbox Live Marketplace costs more in pounds sterling than the previous Microsoft Point equivalent, and users' Microsoft Point balances are now worth less than the new prices.

For example, an Xbox Live user who had 1,200 Microsoft Points in their account's wallet would have been able to purchase content that cost as much. But in the beta, that content costs £11.99 while that user's balance is now listed at £10.20, so the user can no longer afford to buy the content.

It's unclear that these conversions are fixed, since this is a beta. But here are the new pricing levels, according to beta testers:

  • Content at 400 Microsoft Points (formerly equivalent to £3.40) now costs £4.49, an increase of £1.09 or 32 percent
  • Content at 800 Microsoft Points (formerly £6.80) now costs £8.99, an increase of £2.19 or 32 percent
  • Content at 1,200 Microsoft Points (formerly £10.40) now costs £11.99, an increase of £1.56 or 15 percent
  • Content at 1,600 Microsoft Points (formerly £13.60) now costs £14.99, an increase of £1.39 or 10 percent

According to Microsoft's FAQ about the real-money transition, "the amount added to your Microsoft account will be of equal or greater Marketplace value than your Microsoft Points." That appears to be true for the beta testers, but the FAQ also notes that "Marketplace value may not always be equivalent to retail price." In addition, Microsoft Point balances that are converted to local currency will expire June 1, 2015.

We've reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this article with any information we receive.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson told Polygon that the aforementioned beta testers are seeing "incorrect game title pricing"; it's an "unintended error that [Microsoft is] in the process of fixing." Once the company updates the beta to remedy the situation, it will compensate affected users for the difference in price. You can see the full statement below.

We are aware that select regions experienced some incorrect game title pricing in the Xbox Live beta. This was an unintended error that we are in the process of fixing. We'll be reimbursing impacted beta participants for the difference in what was paid and what the price will be after the update is available to all members.

More information about the Microsoft Account transition to local currency can be found here.

Of note, beta programs give us a chance to test, fix and correct issues like this. As with all betas, we take the learnings from our program and make corrections and adjustments prior to the update being available to all members. As always, we appreciate the participation of our beta customers in helping us launch and build great products.

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