Microsoft is ending its Microsoft Points virtual currency with a software update that is rolling out to Xbox 360 consoles today. The move was first rumored this past May and confirmed at E3 in June, but is now becoming official.
As noted in a company FAQ, Microsoft is currently rolling out the update to all Xbox-owning regions, and will replace the Points system with one based on actual currency.
Once the update is applied, any Microsoft Points balance you have will be converted to its equivalent in real cash. So, if you’re an American who had 120 Points in your account, you’ll now see $1.50. The prices for items in the Xbox Live Marketplace will be listed in your local currency as well.
Microsoft says that any Points that are converted into real-world cash as part of the transition will be usable until June 1, 2015. Anything bought with the converted currency will not be subject to sales tax, but future purchases under the new system will be.
The company also notes in the FAQ that it “has no plans to discontinue acceptance of previously purchased Points cards and codes,” so those of you hanging onto unused Points cards now will still be able to make good of them–though they’ll only be usable for one year after they’re redeemed.
Microsoft says that it plans on making the real cash equivalent to Microsoft Points cards, dubbed Xbox Gift Cards, available sometime in late 2013. That will likely line up with the launch of the Xbox 360’s successor, the Xbox One, which is scheduled to arrive sometime in November.
The removal of Microsoft Points has been requested by many Xbox owners over the years. For consumers, it will end a system that was perceived as unnecessarily complicated. For Microsoft, it theoretically makes using a single Microsoft account to purchase Xbox and Windows content a more seamless experience.
More information on the fine details of the switch can be found at the source link below.