Microsoft announced back during the Xbox One reveal that they would be changing the way gamers pay for goods through their digital services. It was further announced that Xbox Live's Microsoft Points -- usually shortened to MSP -- would be done away with for good and replaced with real world currency rates. Well, before the rates undergo the change Microsoft is beta testing the system before the fall roll-out.
Tech Hive spotted the announcement from Larry “Major 'Flip Switcher' Nelson” Hyrb, who rolled out the news that interested parties could partake in the new beta test and start spending money like it had real-world value on Xbox Live... mostly because money will have real-world value on Xbox Live.
As noted on Tech Hive...
The aging Microsoft Points system made sense in the early days of Xbox, since it allowed the company to use a single “currency” worldwide. But now with the widespread availability of digital stores that can handle local transactions like the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store, it’s about time Microsoft Points disappeared.
This was a long rumored feature that was actually hinted at last year, with a “end of 2012” notice. However, it applied first for Microsoft's mobile devices, but the change will soon affect their console hardware later this year when the Xbox One drops this fall.
The currency switchover will also be retroactive, giving anyone with purchased MSP a conversion into actual dollar values (or whatever the currency is in your designated region). I wonder if this means prices will skyrocket for Aussie games for digital purchases on Xbox Live?
One thing is for sure, Japanese gamers will have to wait a while to get in on the deal, as noted on the Major Nelson website, where the "Flip Switcher" mentioned that...
Xbox Live members in any of our 41 Xbox Live-enabled markets will be able to participate in the public beta for Xbox 360. Please note that members in Japan will have an opportunity to join at a later date. I’ll update this post when we open it for Japan, and additional information about the program as it progresses.
The Xbox Live cards featuring MSP will be redeemable up until 2014, where they'll eventually go the way of the dodo. I wonder how Microsoft will fair on the retail front with expunging the MSP cards because they are still some of the best selling items from Microsoft's illustrious gaming service cache.
Nevertheless, if you're curious how the whole thing will work and you would like to participate in the switchover from Microsoft Points to real-world cash, you can sign-up right now for the beta. How do you participate? Just check out the beta program on the main home hub of the Xbox Live dashboard and proceed from there.
One of the major upsides to this news is that it renders all those annoying YouTube videos and spammers across the web trying to bait-click people in with “free Microsoft Points” completely and entirely obsolete. No complaints here.
So far, it seems as if the currency changeover is one of the few features that Microsoft has fully fleshed out without much of a hitch for the Xbox One. I guess, though, when it comes to directly dealing with money the one thing that Microsoft isn't going to get wrong is finding ways to keep it in their coffers... except when it comes to DRM, it seems.