xboxlivecard 1 Microsoft to end use of Microsoft Points with upcoming dashboard updateA new dashboard update is coming to your Xbox 360, in an attempt to become more uniform with the current Windows Live Tiles layout used in other Windows products, according to an article at The Verge.  Many of the changes will be in the look and feel of the dashboard, and are coming as a jumping-off point of sorts for users looking to transition to the upcoming next-gen Xbox console.  However, one big change is coming along with the update, and it’s a good one:  The death knell of the greedy Microsoft Points system.

According to The Verge, the change to the way we spend money on our Xbox is arriving due to Microsoft’s decision to make all transactions cash-only.  Gift-cards like those used by Apple in their iTunes market will replace the current points cards, and simple debit or credit card transactions will be supported for all purchases.

And with a thundering crescendo came the words “Finally!” from the crowd of Xbox users.  This is such a smart, simplified, fair, and user-friendly method of transacting that it’s a shock that it hasn’t been the method all along.  Microsoft points, like all other in-game currencies, forces users to spend more than they would for their desired item, leaving them with left-over points to piddle away on their avatars or other small-time transactions.  It’s a sneaky way of making an extra dollar or two off of every purchase that is made on the Live Marketplace.  I personally have had 240 Microsoft Points in my account for over a year, collecting dust and giving me nothing as a consumer, but Microsoft has already made that $3.00 or so dollars off of my purchase.  While that is certainly no affront to my bottom line, with thousands of Microsoft Points purchases each day, the surplus of unspent funds must certainly stack up in Microsoft’s coffers.

While the Microsoft Point system and other in-game currencies is certainly not an evil on the level of big bank bailouts and Rent-to-Own Furniture stores, it’s certainly heartening to see a big company like Microsoft make a move to allow it’s users to spend less and more freely on the items that they would like to have.  While new surfacing rumors about one-time use only game discs certainly will give gamers something to be up in arms about, this new information from Microsoft is a big, big plus.