Goodbye Microsoft Points, Hello Gift Cards

By Mike Andronico , Updated May 15, 2013 01:58 PM EDT

Hate them or love them, Microsoft Points have been the standard currency for Xbox Live since the inception of the Xbox 360 back in 2005. However, this cash-for-points system could be gone for good by this fall.

Microsoft has been considering cutting out the middleman created by Microsoft Points for a while now, and the transition is all but official now. According to The Verge, Microsoft plans on moving towards a more traditional gift-card system by the end of the year.

This new transaction system is as straightforward as it gets; Customers can purchase gift cards loaded with actual monetary value, just like they would for a Playstation Network or iTunes gift card. These new gift cards will be universal for all Microsoft products, making them redeemable towards both Xbox Live and Windows Store downloads. The Verge reports that straightforward digital transactions via credit cards and debit cards will also be possible later this year.

Gamespot reports that the new currency system will be officially unveiled at this year's E3. The news will certainly come as a relief to the many Xbox gamers disgruntled by the intentionally obtuse Microsoft Points. While the points are designed to be equivalent with actual money, the fact that they have to be purchased in bundles of $5, $10, and $20 almost always leaves gamers with excess points. The system even lead to a 2010 lawsuit over unused currency. 

This streamlined transaction system comes at a perfect time, as it will allow Microsoft to catch up with Sony's digital market model in time for the next generation of both consoles. While it has been a long time coming, Xbox players and Windows product users alike will finally be able to enjoy digital transactions with the same ease of use as stores such as iTunes.

With the new system on its way, do you see yourself making more Xbox purchases? Or are Microsoft points still okay with you?

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