It’s the beginning of the end for Microsoft Points, as the antiquated currency is slowly being phased out, starting with Xbox Live beta testers. Another part of the phase-out is the dissolution of the Xbox Live Rewards program, which we have learned will start disappearing in August.
Started in 2010, the Xbox Live Rewards program gave members Microsoft Points (and occasionally other digital items like Avatar clothing/trinkets) in exchange for completing tasks. For example, if a gamer spent a certain amount at the Xbox Live Marketplace they might get a certain percentage back in Microsoft Points.
The Rewards program also doled out a few Microsoft points simply as a good will gesture, either because it was your birthday or because you played a certain game. Granted, Microsoft only gave out 80 MS Points for birthdays, but it was still free (virtual) money.
So, with the Xbox Live Rewards program ditching Microsoft Points, now we’re left to wonder what Microsoft will deliver in their place. The obvious answer would be real money, but unlike with Microsoft Points there is no guarantee gamers will feed that currency back into the Xbox economy.
However, Microsoft is apparently willing to take that risk as they have announced Microsoft Points will be no more very soon. As was mentioned, beta testers of the most recent update have already seen their MS Points converted to real currency (with some hiccups along the way) and it’s only a matter of time before the change is global. Our guess is that the update will hit either some time before or concurrently with the launch of the Xbox One.
That change will also include a reported replacement for the Xbox Live Rewards program that will make the system “even better.” However, although the program is being phased out starting in August, we won’t know what will replace MS Points until September 1st, when the Xbox Live Rewards website gets an update.
Some other important points of note include the fact Microsoft Point rewards will be added to players account balances on August 7th, and any remaining Points will eventually transition into actual currency. So, those gamers that have yet to bank their rewards will eventually be forced to cash them in.
What did you think of the Xbox Live Rewards program? How would you like to see Microsoft improve it?