As per a blog post by Xbox LIVE’s Larry Hryb, otherwise known as Major Nelson, Xbox 360 users are now invited to try out the "2013 Xbox Live Update for Xbox 360 Public Beta," which adds many performance enhancing updates. Notably, users will be able to make purchases using real-life currency, with the current Microsoft Points system being discontinued later on this year with the Xbox One on the way.

Microsoft Points have been seen by many as a rather unnecessary step in allowing users to grab content. Xbox 360 users currently must purchase points before using them to buy games, movies and other Xbox LIVE niceties, but now, Microsoft is finally making the switch to local currency.

As noted by Hryb, the beta is accessible right now to all Xbox 360 users, with no complicated steps for those looking to get involved. This should encourage more people to jump on the beta, and in turn, make for a better Xbox LIVE experience once the new version crawls out of beta.

At this point in time, there is a cap on the number of public users allowed to participate in the beta, so if you would like to be involved, the message from Major Nelson is to get in early to avoid disappointment. If you are interested, you can join in by looking out for the Xbox Beta Program tile situated within the home hub of your Xbox Dashboard.

Before signing up, you will need to agree to the terms and such, and if you’re unsure about any aspect of the beta program, you’re encouraged to check out the FAQ.

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If enough willing individuals dive in and report any bugs they find, the Xbox LIVE service will be all the better for it, and with the consensus being that the online Xbox service exceeds the standards of Sony’s PlayStation Network, the software maker is now looking to consolidate.

The only prerequisite, besides owning an Xbox 360, is that you reside in one of the 41 Xbox Live-enabled markets. This currently excludes Japan, which has already received some rather disappointing Xbox-related news this week, but Hryb did add that the home nation of the Xbox’s biggest rival will be added in due course.

(via: MajorNelson)

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