Microsoft Points have long been a sore point for Xbox LIVE gamers. The points force the gamer to buy into the console first to then gain access to much of the available content through Xbox Live. Users have been critical of the point system, which can confuse the newer gamers simply looking to buy their games and content without the tedious motion of purchasing points, and frustrating when unusable points are left over.
Over the years, the use of Microsoft Points has spread beyond Xbox Live to other Microsoft services, including Zune Marketplace, Games for Windows, and Windows Phone. The system is used in just about every section of Microsoft’s online purchasing system, but that might not be the case for much longer.
It appears that Microsoft might be phasing out the system in favour of straight up money transactions. Inside Mobile Apps is reporting that by the end of 2012, real world money will be used for all transactions moving forward. Any outstanding balances will be switched over to the account’s local currency. The site cites publishing agreements between mobile developers and Microsoft, warning developers to plan accordingly for the upcoming change.
While this is lodged firmly into the rumour camp (Microsoft has given the usual “we do not comment on rumours or speculation” response), I can’t imagine too many Xbox gamers will be fussed about the change, many probably wondering what took them so long. I’d be interested to know what you think?