Microsoft Points to be Replaced with Gift Cards, Real Currency

It looks as if real money will replace the current Microsoft Points system.

The concept of purchasing an entirely new currency through Microsoft’s LIVE service was interesting at the start. Instead of buying things with dollars and cents, we were instead given “Microsoft Points” to make any and all online transaction. However, a recent report by The Verge claims that the current system of points supported by the Xbox brand will be replaced with real-life cash and a gift card system.

This isn’t exactly a new rumor. Last year, it was discovered that the Windows 8 beta allowed users to pay with Microsoft Points, similar to the Xbox Live Marketplace and Zune Marketplace. However, the final version of Windows 8 switched to credit card transactions, which lead industry insiders to assume that the online currency would be switched across all platforms.

That finally seems to be the case. A gift card system, similar to Apple's iTunes codes, is said to be the new manner by which virtual content is gained. Cash transactions through credit and debit cards will be allowed, and all of this money will be compatible across the family of Microsoft marketplaces, including Xbox, the Windows Store, and the Windows Phone Store.

When will we finally be able to ditch the odd system Microsoft is currently tied to? The official announcement, according to this unconfirmed report, should pop up during this year’s E3 show in June. That will be just weeks after the unveiling of the next-generation Xbox, but the switch to gift cards won’t be immediate. Expect the new setup to come to fruition before the holiday 2013 launch of Durango.