Most headlines about Xbox Live in recent weeks have focused on stories about users having their accounts hacked and money stolen, with follow-ups by Microsoft saying there are no security issues with the service (even one of our staff had their account hacked and it’s currently not usable).
Putting security issues aside, Microsoft may have some positive news incoming regarding the service and other Microsoft products that utilize their proprietary Microsoft Points currency system.
The Microsoft Points system has been nothing short of an inconvenience, often surrounded in controversy for its odd exchange rates from points to real currency and how increments of purchaseable points did not sync up to the common prices of games and other digital content, forcing users to buy more points to make use of remaining balances, or lose out.
According to Inside Mobile Apps however, who’ve heard from developers who claim they’ve been instructed by Microsoft to plan accordingly, this problem may be going away before 2012 (or the world) ends. What this means is that all purchaseable digital items through Xbox Live, Windows Phones and services like Zune would be priced at their accurate real-world currencies.
All current balances of MS Points would of course be converted to their appropriate region-specific currencies. What does this mean for users who don’t have their credit card hooked up to Xbox Live and instead purchased MS Points cards from retailers? That’s the big security question which concerns us, since some users don’t want to link their financial accounts with Xbox Live, especially in light of how frequently we’re hearing of users having their accounts hacked, including readers (and staff) of Game Rant.
And if MS Points will be converted to real money, does that mean users must hold a balance of real-world currency in their Xbox Live account in order to make purchases? Or will the current system of holding a balance be grandfathered out after the MS Points are converted and users can simply make purchases as they wish like they can now with Games on Demand?
If this rumor pans out, expect full details at E3 this summer. If not, sooner. We do look forward to having games and digital items (like the overly priced Avatar items) represented by their actual costs in dollar amounts.
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Xbox Live MS Points image edited from enConnected.