Microsoft is prepping a successor to its Xbox 360 console, and eager gamers don't have long to wait until the company pulls the big curtain off its new system – whatever it's ultimately going to be called.
Microsoft hasn't yet abandoned the trusty old Xbox 360, not by a long shot. According to a new report from The Verge, the company is allegedly prepping another dashboard update for its soon-to-be-legacy system. The laundry list of changes include major updates to the console's traditional user interface, which should bring smaller-sized Live Tiles – borrowed from Microsoft's upcoming Windows Blue update for Windows 8 – into the mix.
And in a welcome bit of relief for gamers who have had to endure Microsoft's pointless points system for Xbox purchases over the past eight years or so, the company will officially kill off Xbox Points once the new dashboard update hits consoles. While Microsoft hasn't mentioned what, exactly, will happen to any points that gamers currently have accumulated, it's likely that they'll simply convert the value of each individual "point" over to cold, hard cash, which gamers will be able to use to make transactions going forward.
Gift cards for Microsoft Store items – covering all of Microsoft's properties, not just the Xbox – will start popping up in retail stores once Microsoft makes the big transition. Additionally, gamers will be able to make standard purchases using their credit or debit cards. Wave goodbye to the arduous process of having to exchange cash for points, and then purchase items with said points.
Additional tweaks arriving as part of the dashboard update – which should begin its life as a public beta test in June or July – have yet to be revealed, and Microsoft certainly isn't commenting on what might or might not appear, nor whether this is the Xbox 360's swan song prior to the rumoured launch of its console around this year's holiday season.
Microsoft hasn't yet spilled the beans as to what kind of post-new-Xbox support that its legacy console might receive, including how long the company plans to work on new Xbox 360 dashboard updates over at Microsoft HQ. Rival Sony has officially confirmed its plans to support the PlayStation 3 until at least 2015, giving it at least two years' worth of overlap with the to-be-launched PlayStation 4.
Microsoft executives hinted that the Xbox 360 was halfway through its lifecycle back in 2011, which puts the console's end-of-life switch at around 2015 or 2016 – assuming the company's still sticking to that schedule.