Whether you loathe their very existence or whether you're a couldn't-care-less bystander, Microsoft's currency – cunningly called Microsoft Points – has become part and parcel of the Xbox 360 experience. Everything from new multiplayer maps for Call of Duty, to the immensely addictive Bejeweled Blitz, to a misguided rental of Spartan slaughter-thon 300 required the use of these points, which had to be first bought with real-life cash and then added to your Xbox Live account by entering a code of letters and numbers. Obfuscating the actual price in favour of a price in "Microsoft Points", figuring out how much you were actually spending required some pretty snappy mental maths.
Back in October, Microsoft revealed it was phasing out the use of Microsoft Points for it's Windows 8 services (which we're sure went down well with its early adopters - both of them), and it seems the move is being mirrored for it's next Xbox too. Now, when you come to buy a game, film, or add-on on the next Xbox, you'll be buying in pounds and pence, not Microsoft Points.
The announcement comes as little surprise, as Microsoft have made no secret of the fact it envisions a future with all your Windows devices linked together – your PC, phone, tablet and console all working synchronously under the same online ID - and it'd make little sense to be buying in one currency on one platform, and a different one another. We aren't about to wave goodbye to the dreaded Microsoft Points just yet though, as there are currently no plans to shift over to real-world currencies for the Xbox 360, with the console set to keep using Microsoft Points until the end of it's days. We will however be saying farewell to the Microsoft Points cards we've come to know and love, as they'll be steadily replaced by monetised cards, presumably selling lump sums of £10, £20 or £30 credit for your account, rather than 800, 1200, 2400 or 4000 points. We'd imagine these cards will work across the 360 and it's successor, with the former simply granting you whatever the equivalent is in Microsoft Points, although it does run the risk of getting rather confusing.
For those of you planning on moving to the next Xbox around release day, though, questions still remain over whether or not any Microsoft Points currently associated with your account will carry over. The games industry doesn't exactly have a great track record for this, as Wii Points never carried over to the Wii U eShop, but we'd surprised if Microsoft Points don't. Hopefully Microsoft will clear up any questions in the coming months, perhaps even at next week's Xbox Reveal event – so stay tuned.