Microsoft officially did away with Microsoft Points today through an Xbox 360 software update, available now in the U.S., that converts the alternate currency into real money.
The update process took about five minutes on Polygon's office Xbox 360, and afterward we could detect no change in the appearance of the console's Dashboard — aside from prices being listed in U.S. dollars instead of Microsoft Points.
The first time we tried to buy a game after updating our Xbox 360, the console took us through a few screens in which it converted our existing balance of 120 Microsoft Points to its equivalent in dollars, $1.50. According to Microsoft's FAQ on the transition, the currency that is converted at this time will be valid until June 1, 2015.
As you can see in the gallery below, content prices are now listed in dollars plus tax. Microsoft said in its FAQ that any purchases made with the initially converted money won't be taxed. However, the company will charge local sales tax on transactions in the future. Xbox Live users can continue to buy and redeem Microsoft Points cards for the foreseeable future, and later this year, Microsoft will start offering Xbox Gift Cards to replace the old cards.
We've reached out to Microsoft for more details on the update, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Update: A Microsoft representative told Polygon, "Today we started rolling out the official release of the 2013 Xbox Live Update. To ensure a stable release, this will be a gradual deployment across members and regions. Don't panic if you don’t see an immediate update, just keep checking back in." The rep added that the update will be available in all 41 Xbox Live-enabled markets.