Xbox 360 getting PayPal support?
Purported customer support documents indicate new payment option to be only noticeable change in console's spring update; Avatar Kinect launch set for May 27.
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Source: A report on gaming blog Joystiq.
What we heard: The Joystiq report is based on a pair of documents surreptitiously slipped to the gaming blog by a member of Microsoft's tech support team. The sheets are labeled "Xbox Supportability - Release Notification" and are intended to bring customer support associates a heads-up on the product rollouts that could be complicating their jobs in the near future.
The note regarding the Xbox 360's spring update includes mention of the previously confirmed new disc format for the system, which is expected to be used by games starting later this year. However, it also contains a handful of other heretofore unknown bits of information, like a launch window for the update and details on a new PayPal integration.
According to the notes, the PayPal integration is the biggest change of the update, and indeed the only one that will be readily apparent to users. For "the only user-facing feature of this update," Microsoft is supposedly enabling PayPal payments through the Xbox 360 console itself, giving users an option to acquire Microsoft points in ways besides credit cards and retail points cards. PayPal support will also be extended to new markets internationally.
Microsoft reportedly plans to release the update in six groups between May 19 and May 30. The staggered rollout is being done "to ensure a high-quality deployment," according to the note.
Another tech support note passed to Joystiq put a worldwide May 27 date on Avatar Kinect, the new peripheral-powered chat functionality for the system first debuted at the 2011 Game Developers Conference. The download, which will be free for Xbox Live Gold members, will let the Kinect read facial expressions and replicate them on Avatars in online chat rooms for up to eight people.
The official story: Microsoft did not return GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: It's bizarre to think a tech support staffer would risk being fired for leaking such minor details, but perhaps more bizarre to suggest someone would fake them. Probably not bogus.