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Microsoft: 'Points' virtual currency will not feature on Windows 8

Microsoft confirmed today that it will be phasing out the use of Microsoft Points in Windows 8, though the system will live on via the Xbox 360 console - for now.

"With Xbox expanding into new markets through Windows 8, we want to provide greater flexibility for you to purchase and access Xbox content by using your credit card," a Microsoft spokeswoman said. "Local currency will be the primary method for making purchases in Windows 8."

Existing Xbox Live customers, however, can also buy things with Points. "Microsoft Points continue to be the currency for purchasing content for the Xbox 360 console," she said. "We have nothing to announce regarding future plans."

That means you'll be able to purchase music, movies, and other downloads on a Windows 8 gadget using real money. But Points will remain the purchase option of choice on Microsoft's console.

Points function as a virtual currency that let you buy things like Xbox 360 games, add-ons and accessories, as well as movies and TV shows. They can be purchased via the dashboard using a credit card or as gift cards at retail stores.

In early 2012, there were reports that Microsoft would phase out Points by the end of the year, but the Redmond-based company did not confirm until this week.

Other tech firms have also dropped virtual currency recently; in June, Facebook ditched its Credits platform in favour of local currencies and allowed app developers to offer in-app subscriptions.