When you want to buy downloads on XBox 360 Live - from new themes and pictures to even new games and maps - you have to spend Microsoft Points to get them. What are these points?
In essence, this is virtual currency so that instead of your credit card being hit with lots of little charges for $1.99 and $2.99 when you buy maps, you can just make a one time "point purchase" of say $25 and then be set for a while. There is no discount at all for buying more or fewer points. It is always an exact match of 1.25 cents per point. The blocks of points you can get are:
500 pts = $6.25
1000 pts = $12.50
2000 pts = $25.00
5000 pts = $62.50
You NEVER need points to play games you own already. Points are just for buying "add-ons" like new pictures, new themes, and you can even download entire games. For example you can download the entire original Gauntlet game and play it on your home system.
Here are some sample prices of what purchaseable items go for on the XBox 360 Live system:
Gauntlet - full original game - 400 pts / $5.00
Zuma - full game - 800 pts / $10.00
Cole (Gun) Gamer Picture - 20 pts / 25 cents
Background music for Ridge Racer 6 - 80 pts / $1.00
Boston Celtics theme - 150 pts / $1.87 (and a half cent)
The only way to pay for Microsoft Points is with a credit card.