According to an unidentified source, Microsoft is looking to phase out its virtual currency system by the end of 2012.
Inside Mobile Apps claims Microsoft will be dropping its arbitrary points system in favor of a currency-based system. If true, this would affect the Windows Phone, the Zune Marketplace and Xbox Live.
The move would unify Microsoft's various price listings which are currently all over the place. XBLA content is bought with MS points, but prices for digital versions of full retail games are listed in dollars. Similar shenanigans occur in the Windows Phone marketplace; the app prices are listed in dollars, but users can make in-app purchases with MS points.
The change would also answer the common criticism that the points system is, some say deliberately, misleading. Currently, in the states, one dollar equates into about 80 MSP rather than 100, as many customers assume.
Microsoft is currently selling a form of currency as a product which presents all kinds of problems when it comes to international launches. Recently, the so-bad-it's-still-bad survival horror game Amy was delayed for a week when differing exchange rates produced a price disparity between the 360 and PS3 versions of the game. According to Inside Mobile App's source, once the point system is gone, all transactions will be based on the region of the purchasing account, hopefully producing more reasonable prices for European and Australian customers.
Thus far, Microsoft's only comment is that it "doesn't comment on rumours or speculation," though we'll keep you updated should they confirm, deny or announce anything.
Source: Inside Mobile Apps