Microsoft are rumoured to be getting rid of the Microsoft Points system used on the Xbox 360 to buy games, movies and other content.
Currently, Xbox 360 gamers must top up an account by using their credit cards (or buying pre-paid cards) to get Microsoft Points, tied into Microsoft’s systems, which can then be exchanged for games and other downloads. The currency is also found in some areas of other Microsoft services, including Zune Marketplace, Games for Windows, and Windows Phone.
Bought in odd numbers, users often complain of being left with unusable Microsoft Point “change”, which isn’t significant enough to purchase anything with.
However, this may all be set to change by the end of 2012. According to Inside Mobile Apps, real-world money will be the currency of choice on the platform going forward, instead of the Microsoft fairy-gold used now.
According to their report, the points system could be completely phased out by the end of the year, with any outstanding Microsoft Points balances being converted into real-world cash to use in Microsoft’s stores.
Very much a rumour at this stage (Microsoft has responded with their usual “we do not comment on rumors or speculation” answer), it would make perfect sense going forward. For starters, I don’t believe there is a single person out there who wouldn’t prefer the transparency of real-world pricing attached to their downloads, not to mention removing the extra step of actually purchasing points before grabbing a download.
Also, with Microsoft positioning themselves ever-more as entertainment leaders, with the Xbox 360 looking more like a media hub with every passing update and the rumoured Xbox 720 seemingly more like a PVR than a games console, a more simple system is needed if they are to reach the mass-market audiences they are aiming for with the video content they are now pushing. It’s not rocket science; PS3 gamers have happily been playing regular cash for PSN content since that console launched.