Next Thursday, May 19, will bring an important update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard according to a schedule leaked by a Microsoft tech support employee. Sorry, the Mii-like clones won't be eradicated in the next OS update, but it appears that owners will at least have the ability to use PayPal as a method of payment starting next week.
"The Spring 2011 System Update will expand PayPal to new international markets and enable PayPal to be used as a payment instrument for points, content and subscriptions purchased on the Xbox 360 console," the document reveals. "This is the only user facing feature of this update."
The arrival of a PayPal feature couldn't come at a better time as Sony continues to reboot the PlayStation Network after hackers infiltrated its virtual walls through a known security flaw. The hackers supposedly retrieved personal information from millions of users-- including credit card numbers—thus forcing Sony to bring the network offline while offering to compensate users with free games and a year's worth of identity theft protection for free.
To some degree, using PayPal will help protect Xbox 360 owners on a financial level. It will also make it easy on consumers who don't have a credit card, or not enough credit to immediately purchase content on the console. This will also be an additional form of payment for those having trouble with credit cards stemming from the PlayStation Network breach.
The news of PayPal also arrives after Microsoft announced that it purchased Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. Skype will support devices like the Xbox 360 and Kinect, possibly allowing Xbox 360 users to place VoIP calls straight from the console. This is where PayPal would come in handy, allowing users to purchase Skype credits, pay by the minute and more. Skype already gladly accepts PayPal payments.
In addition to the PayPal option, Microsoft is also adding support for the higher-capacity Xbox Game Disc Format (XGD3) media which will supposedly be used on future game titles slated to launch later this year. The new media adds additional storage space on the optical disc for developers and additional layers of copy protection to fight against potential modders.
The document reports that the Spring 2011 System Update rollout will begin on May 19 and will complete on May 30. "Unlike previous system updates, this release will occur gradually in 6 separate groups starting from 5/19 through 5/30," the company said. "This is being done to ensure a high quality deployment."