Microsoft has thrown open applications for its next Xbox Live beta, giving Xbox 360 gamers the opportunity to have early access to the new Microsoft Points replacement and more. The 2013 Xbox Live Update for Xbox 360 Public Beta will see a trial switch-over to local currency for downloads and purchases, Microsoft's Major Nelson writes, in addition to performance improvements.
The switch away from Microsoft Points to gamers' local currencies was announced last month, with the company saying that any existing credit in a player's account would be converted over to currency "of at least equal value." The change comes ahead of the new Xbox One, which will go on sale alongside the Xbox 360 rather than directly replacing it.
Membership of the public beta is only open to limited numbers - Microsoft hasn't said how many will be accommodated - and, for the first time, will be accessed via the Xbox Live dashboard itself. Xbox 360 owners should look out for a new Xbox Beta Program tile on the homescreen.
Initially, any gamer in an Xbox Live market will be able to take part, barring Japan. Those Japanese gamers who want to get involved will have to wait until "a later date", Major Nelson says. Those in the public beta will also have to sign an NDA, though in previous years those non-disclosure agreements have generally failed to stop details leaking.
Despite the new, next-gen console on the way, Microsoft isn't giving up on its existing model. The company announced a redesigned version of the Xbox 360 back at E3, and has promised "hundreds of new games" over the next few years.