Freely accessible to anyone with a broadband connection, Xbox LIVE Marketplace is a digital download centre providing free and premium content for games, as well as entertainment content such as movie trailers and music videos. Premium Xbox LIVE Marketplace content will be available for purchase with Microsoft Points. Microsoft Points is a new stored-value system that will let consumers purchase a number of points, and then redeem those points for content online, ranging from gamer pictures and themes to full game downloads on Xbox LIVE Arcade
So at first I said to myself I'll stick to my principles and avoid paying more. But I tried the trail versions of downloads that required points (for free) and eventually gave in and bought some.
The best way to get Microsoft points is through live itself and it takes a couple seconds and you get a confirmation email if you have credit card details logged with Microsoft.
Most arcade games retail for 400-1200 XBOX live points which is roughly proportionate to the level of depth of gameplay within the title. Some of the best titles include Geometry Wars (Shooter), Marble Blast ultra (3D marble puzzle) and the upcoming Street Fighter (for XBOX live playability).
Microsoft points also allow you to change your GamerTag which is something I like to do from time to time and it was difficult to do on the previous-gen version of live. That currently costs you 800pts.
Overall, reasonable value for money, if a little on the expensive side (hence 4*) but at least it ensures a motivation for companies to provide a steady stream of content.