Players who have turned on their Xbox 360 already today are likely to have been greeted with a system update. Although we don't have the full notes for the contents of the update, the one thing that has become obvious to people is that the marketplace is displaying all prices in local currency. Microsoft Points are no more. Players who own both a Windows Phone and an Xbox 360 will now be able to purchase titles from a single account.
What does this mean for you now? Any outstanding MSP cards or codes that you have purchased can still be redeemed. When the codes are entered into your console, Microsoft will instead add "an amount of currency equal to or greater than the Marketplace value of your Microsoft Points" to your account. Any MSP that were in your account already will also now be converted to local currency.
To do this, you must initiate a purchase or add a Microsoft Points code on your console. The conversion WILL NOT take place if you try to perform these actions on Xbox.com, although Microsoft is working on the possibility of this happening in the future. You do not have to complete the purchase; once a player has clicked on the Purchase link, a window will pop up explaining that your remaining MSP balance has been converted to local currency. You can then back out of the transaction at the point where you are normally required to confirm your purchase. Any MSP that were sitting in your account when it converted to local currency will expire on June 1st, 2015.
For your billing account to transition to local currency it does need to be in a "supported country"; they are as follows:
• Czech Republic
• Hong Kong SAR
• New Zealand
• Saudi Arabia
• South Africa
• United Arab Emirates
• United Kingdom
• United States
MSP codes will be available from retailers for the immediate future and these can be redeemed without issue "until further notice". In other words, do not wait too long to redeem points cards that are purchased from today onwards as we have no idea what time-scale Microsoft has in mind when they say "until further notice". However, any MSP codes that were purchased before today will not be discontinued and do not necessarily need redeeming immediately. Any MSP points codes that are added after your account has transitioned will automatically be converted to local currency. This currency will expire one year from the date the Points are redeemed.
Players can still use other supported payment methods too, such as credit cards or Paypal accounts. Those of you who do not have an alternative payment method or choose not to use one will be glad to know that the MSP codes will be replaced with Xbox Gift Cards that represent local currency denominations. These will be available for purchase at retailers from late 2013. Any local currency that is added after the transition will not expire at all.
As a final note, Xbox LIVE Gold Family Pack members may also have noticed that their memberships have been converted into individual Xbox LIVE Gold memberships. This process is supposed to be taking place at the same time as the MSP conversion although Microsoft were less specific with a conversion period for this.
Thanks to the members of the community who sent this one in!