Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) now supports Bitcoin as a payment option for its digital store, allowing users to fund their accounts with the cryptocurrency.
In a surprising move, the Redmond-based tech giant Microsoft has become the first major console maker to embrace the virtual currency known as Bitcoin, letting users add money to their Microsoft accounts via the virtual currency. Ouya, the failed Android console, added Bitcoin support some time ago.
But how does it work? Essentially the Bitcoins are “cashed in” from the user’s digital wallet and then converted into money, which is then added to the user’s balance.
The news was originally spotted on Reddit, and it appears that the funds are limited to Xbox credit. That means you can buy “apps, games, and other digital content from Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Games, Xbox Music, or Xbox Video stores”.
Microsoft has added a detailed how-to section that has more information on the stipulations and process of the new payment feature.
According to the article, users can only use their Bitcoin funds to buy “digital goods at select Microsoft online stores”, and that you can’t use Bitcoin to “purchase Microsoft products and services directly at this time”.
So far only users in the United States can take advantage of this payment option, but we’ll likely see Microsoft add more territories as well as full Bitcoin support across all stores.
It’ll be interesting to see if Sony (NYSE: SNE) or Nintendo (TYO: 7974) adopt Bitcoin for their respective online marketplaces, and as the digital currency continues to grow in popularity and value, we’ll likely see more major retailers honor the cryptocurrency same as cash.