Microsoft is phasing out its Xbox Points virtual currency in favour of a new gift card system.
Sources “familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans” have told The Verge that the gift cards will be more like Apple’s iTunes vouchers, meaning they will be based on real, localised currency.
Consumers will also be able to make transactions using the credit or debit cards in future.
The new system is allegedly set to be unveiled either “as soon as E3”, and will launch in time for the next Xbox, which will be unveiled next week on May 21st.
In October last year, Microsoft confirmed that real currency would be the primary method of payment on Windows 8 to buy Xbox content, although it said Xbox 360 and Live users would still be able to use the Points system.
Earlier this year, Japanese developer Hiroyuki Maruyama, president of arcade shooter studio G-Rev, said that Japanese developers were losing out on XBLA revenue due to the Microsoft Points conversion rates policy.
He explained that currency exchange rates between the strong Yen and weak dollar had proven a real problem for developers in the country, and meant they were often losing out on royalties.
“A strong yen and a weak dollar is very damaging to us because XBLA and DLC are ‘export products,’” he said.
“That’s why Japanese developers avoid making games for Xbox 360. When we released Strania on XBLA, the rate was 80 yen per dollar. If Japanese people buy our game in MSP, we receive in dollars!”