Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Points, a virtual currency used to buy games and other digital media on its Xbox consoles, is being eliminated today.

In a software update to its Xbox 360 console, Microsoft converted users' Microsoft Points balances to the equivalent in U.S. dollars, the gaming news site Polygon reports. Microsoft also plans to sell plastic Xbox Gift Cards with U.S. dollar amounts in place of the current Microsoft Points cards it sells in stores, according to a Frequently Asked Questions document Microsoft posted online.

Microsoft announced in June that it would eliminate its Microsoft Points virtual currency as it prepares for the release of its next home game console, called the Xbox One. Microsoft's move follows similar decisions by Nintendo and Facebook to phase out virtual currencies, instead pricing digital content in local currencies. Facebook is also putting more emphasis on digital gifts and its plastic card, and in the process plans to drop a system for purchasing physical gifts online.

Amazon.com stands as an exception to the trend of major companies dropping virtual currencies. In May, Amazon.com began selling virtual Amazon Coins for customers to use when purchasing digital content for their Kindle tablets and e-readers.

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