Following several months of evaluation, Microsoft has launched the Xbox Live Rewards program, which gives Xbox Live users Microsoft Points as incentive to purchase Gold subscriptions and other content through the service.
The debut of the program comes about a year after Microsoft started exploring the incentive system, with a pilot program launching in November 2009
The official My Rewards website
shows that users who renew a $60, 12 month Xbox Live Gold membership, for example, can earn 200 Microsoft points (MSP), the currency used in the Xbox Live Marketplace (worth $2.50). A user's first purchase on Xbox Live returns 100MSP ($1.25).
Signing up for the rewards program is free to all Xbox Live members in the U.S. and UK, although some rewards are only available to Gold subscribers.
Users cannot receive awards for purchases made prior to becoming an Xbox Live Rewards member, and Rewards account verification takes up to 36 hours from the time of sign-up.
An FAQ on the Xbox website
said rewarded MSP could take up to 30 days to deposit into users' Xbox Live accounts. Points are redeemed directly through the Xbox Live Marketplace, and Rewards members also have access to exclusive promotions and prizes.
Other ways to earn MSP through the program include renewing an Xbox Live Family Gold Pack, purchasing specific Xbox Live Marketplace content and taking monthly surveys.