Well this is interesting. According to a new report, Microsoft appear set to discontinue the use of Microsoft Points when it comes to transactions in the virtual marketplaces in a move that will affect the way consumer purchases operate across Xbox LIVE, Zune and Windows Phone.
According to Inside Mobile Apps, who themselves received the information from "a source with knowledge of the company’s decision", all transactions will be based on the region set on the purchasing account, with "real money" used to purchase all content, presumably directly. As the site notes, this would put Microsoft alongside Apple and Google in the way they conduct online transactions.
The report also states that "mobile developers that have publishing agreements with Microsoft are being warned to plan their upcoming downloadable content (DLC) and in-app purchases in accordance with the change" and that existing Points will be converted into region currency once the scheme has been rolled out properly. We'd expect the exchange rate on that to be fairly crap, though, so don't bother hoarding. Especially not with the House Party coming up.
Although just a rumour at this point, it wouldn't be surprising if the move happened. Direct cash prices occupy certain parts of Xbox LIVE, notably Classics titles and direct downloads for full retail games. Furthermore, the Microsoft Points system has come under fire in the past for unnecessarily complicating digital transactions, though it might be said that the fluctuating 'exchange rates' have proven useful for a deals site of our nature.