Microsoft is slowly eliminating Microsoft Points as a form of virtual currency in favor of more direct transactions using gift cards. As originally reported by The Verge, Microsoft is looking to adopt a system very similar to Apple’s iTunes gift cards which carry an actual monetary value as opposed to a point system. Direct purchases using your stored credit card information will also be an option in addition to using the new gift cards.
Mainly used on Xbox 360 consoles, points can currently be used for a variety of content including movie rentals, Xbox Live Arcade game purchases and DLC. Microsoft Points can be purchased in varying point value bundles either online or in the form of actual physical cards from various retailers. The move to a more direct transaction model only makes sense considering you can already store your credit card information online to pay for your Xbox Live membership, purchase point bundles and make direct Games on Demand purchases for full Xbox 360 titles.
We’ve already seen that Windows 8 carries the option to make purchases through the built in marketplace using a credit card instead of points as a precursor to this transition. The gift cards will be redeemable through Microsoft’s various marketplaces including the Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, and Xbox Live Marketplace. Although, they should not be confused with the current gift cards being offered at brick and mortar Microsoft Stores which can only be used currently at those physical locations. The new gift card system is set to be unveiled this year at E3 with an actual launch planned for later this year, mostly likely around the time the next Xbox launches.
(source: The Verge)