As revealed by this Microsoft memo to Windows Store app developers, price tiers will be organized according to actual currency. This is contrary to Microsoft’s other platforms, such as the Xbox 360, which utilize the company’s proprietary Microsoft Points system.
Notably, in an attached FAQ about price tiers, there is absolutely no mention of Microsoft Points. Everything is listed in direct currency.
Currently, the Windows 8 beta does not support app sales, and these changes are expected to ship with the ready-to-manufacture versions of Windows 8.
Analysis: While gamers are okay with using banana dollars to make their purchases, in-house currency like Microsoft Points are often confusing and feel unprofessional to uninitiated customers. Since Microsoft is gearing Windows 8 up to compete against the lucrative mobile app market, which already uses real cash payments as an industry standard, it makes sense for Microsoft to move away from Microsoft Points. They’re trying to appeal to a broader market that might take offense to having to use an in-house currency, and Microsoft feels that its time to move on.
What isn’t as clear is whether or not these changes will reflect a permanent shift in Microsoft’s ideology. Will this move to real currency purchases spill over to Microsoft’s other platforms? There have been rumors asserting as much, but Microsoft has yet to formally announce any such strategy. On one hand, there’s no real need to move away from Microsoft Points on platforms such as the Xbox 360. Gamers may prefer actual money purchases, but historically, they’ve shown that they are ready and willing to accept payment schemes like Microsoft Points, which do tend to force customers to pay more money for content over time. On the other hand, Microsoft may feel like it has outgrown Microsoft Points, and the company may wish to transition their entire media sales business to a real currency system. Ultimately, only time will tell, but this new development for Windows 8 may be Microsoft tipping their hand a bit, so to speak.