Microsoft has announced that the current system of Microsoft Points will be transitioning to local currency sometime in “late 2013.” It’s not a stretch to imagine that this switch will coincide with the release of the Xbox One, which launches this holiday season. No longer will users have to convert amounts of Microsoft Points into dollars, euros, or any other currency — prices will be displayed in currency local to the region of the console, and future credit card purchases will be made directly for a product download, rather than for the more abstract Microsoft Points.
Microsoft will be accepting current Microsoft Points cards for the foreseeable future, so anyone doing their Christmas shopping in August won’t be out of luck when gift recipients unwrap redeemable cards this holiday season. That being said, Microsoft Points cards will slowly be phased out in favor of cards redeemable for a specific monetary value for each region. It’s likely that the current cost of cards (sold in the US mainly in $20 and $50 versions, redeemable for 1600 and 4000 Microsoft Points, respectively) will not go up, but merely display the monetary value on the card instead of a more arbitrary number of points.
Lastly, anyone with a current balance of Microsoft Points on their Xbox Live accounts need not fear about losing any points — any balance will transition to a balance in local currency. So again, someone with an extra 800 Microsoft Points on their US Xbox Live account won’t lose anything, but instead receive $10 worth of credit when the transition occurs.