Microsoft phasing out its virtual points currency in Windows 8

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It looks like Microsoft is ready to begin phasing out its points-based currency starting with the launch of Windows 8. The latest beta for the upcoming operating system now allows users to pay for game, movie and music content using real money.

While Microsoft Points are still available as an option, all default transactions will take place using a credit card.

Microsoft's Xbox Live point system has been widely criticized for being confusing and difficult to convert into real prices. They allow users to purchase content on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Zune Marketplace.

However, besides making things seem a bit cheaper than they actually are (80 Microsoft Points converts to $1), points are only sold in blocks and users often have to purchase more than they actually require at a particular time. This means they'll have left over points after their purchase but likely not enough to buy something else.

The recent change affects Windows 8 only. Xbox 360 consoles appear to be using the Microsoft Points system for now, but that could change with a dashboard update due later this month.

Back in January a report suggested Microsoft would drop the points system on Xbox Live and Windows Phone by the end of 2012. Transactions would be based on the local region of Microsoft accounts, much like Apple's App Store.

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