During its media briefing at E3 on Monday, Microsoft announced plans to end its Microsoft Points program and switch over to real currency. The move was had been long rumored, fueled by wishful thinking on the part of gamers. But with Windows 8 making cash the default option for the Xbox Video Store, the writing was on the wall.
Microsoft's Marc Whitten, who made the announcement, did not reveal an effective date for the change, but it will most likely coincide with the Xbox One release in November.
The transaction system was a common point of contention for Xbox gamers. Players were often forced to purchase more points than they needed for a typical game. For example, a user who wanted to purchase a 600-point game on Xbox Live would have to purchase the 800-point pack and hope eventually to find a purpose for the extra 200 points. That's not much of a problem for avid gamers, but it was a real pain point for more casual users.
Whitten also confirmed that Xbox Live Gold memberships will continue to work with the new gaming system; however he didn't divulge whether all the features would remain the same.
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