Having realized what a huge pain in the wallet proprietary currency schemes can be, Microsoft appears to be dropping its points system in favor of actual cash transactions.
Let's say you want to buy something from the Xbox Live Marketplace. You visit the listing for your prospective purchase, notice the price and pry your wallet from wherever you store your valuables. In any other situation this is the point where you'd fork over some cash or maybe a debit card, but the Xbox Live Marketplace isn't quite that simple. Instead, you punch in your card numbers, then must select an amount of points to purchase. These points can then be used to purchase whatever item you had your eye on, but the point here is that the system is needlessly complex.
According to a new Verge report, Microsoft may feel the same way, and has decided to ditch the point system in favor of actual, real-world monetary transactions in the future. Instead of everything I wrote above, you'd visit the store, punch in your card numbers, and *poof* you suddenly own whatever you had your heart set on. Ain't capitalism grand?
Ah, but what of those who don't have cards? How are they to purchase new DLC packs? As part of its shift away from proprietary currency, Microsoft reportedly plans to replace its current Xbox Live point cards system with gift cards similar to those used by iTunes devotees in purchasing items from Apple. It seems safe to assume that these new gift cards will function similarly to their predecessors, but will be labeled with real-world cash amounts instead of Microsoft points (that is, "$20" as opposed to "1600 points").
With all that in mind, it's easy to write this off as a simple change, though it should make dealing with Microsoft products less confusing in the future. Not only is the company supposedly dropping points for Xbox Live, it's also switching to real money for the rest of its services. Thus, the Windows Mobile and Windows PC platforms will follow this same monetary scheme and can utilize the exact same Microsoft gift cards as the firm's next console.
Now let's just hope that this switch doesn't somehow jack up the prices on digital items whose base cost is more or less arbitrary anyway.
Source: The Verge