Microsoft Points are the currency of the Xbox Live Marketplace, Games for Windows - Live Marketplace, Windows Live Gallery and Zune online stores. The points allow users to purchase content without a credit card, and reduce the number of small credit card transaction fees which Microsoft would otherwise pay. Some downloads on the Xbox Live Marketplace are free, but most other downloads, such as full versions of arcade games and extras for some games, cost Microsoft Points.
Point cost per region
Microsoft Points are sold in each country in the local currency. However, because the official price per point is defined differently for each country (in terms of their local currency), some regions pay more (in terms of cost relative to the US dollar) for the same quantity of points than others due to currency fluctuations.
Microsoft Points are purchased either online via credit card or in the form of Microsoft Points Cards (also known as "tokens") from retail locations. Points can be bought in a number of different allotments ranging from 100 up to 5000 Microsoft Points.
Pricing differences between regions
The price of Microsoft Points varies considerably between regions. When launched, Microsoft Points were priced approximately the same in each country. However, because Microsoft does not generally change the pricing to coincide with the current exchange rates, the cost per point in other countries relative to the United States is constantly fluctuating.