The switch comes in the form of a downloadable Xbox 360 update, which began rolling out in 31 countries on August 26. Existing Microsoft Points will be converted into the local currency of the Xbox’s geographical region.
It’s a welcome change for Xbox owners, who for years have been left scratching their heads at the odd valuation of Microsoft Points. For $10, gamers get 800 MS Points. The lowest amount of money a gamer can spend on points is $5 for 400 Points, a situation that often leads to extra points but nothing worthwhile to spend them on. Worse yet, gamers will occasionally find themselves a buck or two shy or a new game, but have to spend a full $5 more to purchase it. Brilliant for Microsoft -- whoops, you spent more money on us! -- but lousy for gamers on a tight budget.
Accustomed to simpler real-money services like the App Store and the Android Market, disgruntled gamers have put the system on blast. Microsoft’s own Marc Whitten acknowledged as much earlier this month.
"This change was a direct result of customer feedback," he said. "You told us you want to be able to buy things using money instead of points, and we listened."
There’s still a small catch, of course. Microsoft Points currently in your account will be immediately converted into normal currency, but that currency will have an expiration date of June 1, 2015. Further, any points added to your account after the transition (say, via some leftover Microsoft Points Gift Cards) will be immediately converted to currency with an expiration date one year from the time of activation. In other words, Microsoft would like you to spend your converted points soon, please.
For more nuts and bolts, go check out Microsoft’s FAQ on the matter.
- Microsoft Points