Microsoft Rumors: Microsoft Points Going Away and the Xbox 720’s Massive Video Card

As the year advances, so do rumors about the next-gen gaming consoles that might be leaping forth from the major players in that arena such as when we’ll see the Wii-U—and now it’s also about what will be in the Xbox 720. However, before all that speculation comes to fruition there’s the matter of the proprietary microtransaction system Microsoft Points.

“Microsoft’s proprietary virtual currency system, Microsoft Points, will be phased out by the end of the year, according to a source with knowledge of the company’s decision,” writes Inside Mobile Apps, citing an unknown source “with knowledge of the company’s decision. “The change will affect developers for Windows Phone, the Zune marketplace and Xbox Live.”

While this seems strange, not all Xbox Live products are bought with MS Points—full games are listed with their retail prices in monetary currency whereas DLCs are bought for Points. On Windows Phone’s apps are priced in dollars and in-app purchases can be made with Points. Microsoft has been slowing transitioning in more for-money transactions into Xbox Live which seems to make this a little bit credible but it’s hard to say.

Microsoft has declined to comment, citing the rumor as exactly that.

Virtual money systems such as provide an easy-to-use microtransation currency are the mainstay of the free-to-play MMO ecology and they function with such a powerful financial magnet it seems like a bad idea for a company like Microsoft to move away from them. Through the use of Microsoft Points they already have a captive audience and with minimum purchases they give lots of incentive to buy them in bulk—furthermore, as developers receive residuals off items bought with Points they readily increase the chances that users will use them to make very small purchases.

Those very-small-purchases add up.

Is that a turbine in your console or are you running an Xbox 720?

The folks over at IGN have got a bug up their sleeve about whatever might go under the hood of the next-gen Xbox—currently thought to be the Xbox 720. They’re speculating that the next-gen console will start shipping to retailers at the end of October or early November 2012, citing a source close to the project.

Looking at what sort of chipsets and graphics cards are available on the market, they’ve determined that the next-gen Xbox 720 will be six-times as powerful as its ancestor.

Following initial reports from tech blogs Fudzilla and SemiAccurate, our sources have confirmed that mass production of the system’s GPU will indeed begin by the end of 2012 but will not, however, be based on AMD’s 7000 series Southern Islands GPU. Instead, the processor will be derived from the 6000 series, which was introduced last year. More specifically, it will be akin to the Radeon HD 6670, which offers support for DirectX11, multidisplay output, 3D and 1080p HD output. The chip currently has a market price of upwards of $79.99.

They’re also guessing this means it will have a 20-percent higher yield in performance over Nintendo’s next-gen console, the Wii-U, in raw power.

I’m just wondering how all of these will look competing with Alienware’s PC-as-console-priced gaming system theX51 Desktop. Now that’s a weird breed.

For what it’s worth, we can probably expect to know the full established system configuration for the Xbox 720 around August, expecting an October ship date. So we at SiliconANGLE will see you back then during that unveiling.

About Kyt Dotson

Kyt Dotson is a Senior Editor at SiliconAngle and works to cover beats surrounding DevOps, security, gaming, and cutting edge technology. Before joining SiliconAngle, Kyt worked as a software engineer starting at Motorola in Q&A to eventually settle at Pets911.com where he helped build a vast database for pet adoption and a lost and found system. Kyt is a published author who writes science fiction and fantasy works that incorporate ideas from modern-day technological innovation and explore the outcome of living with those technologies.