Microsoft Points system unfair to Japan, says XBLA dev

A Japanese game developer has expressed his disappointment at the Microsoft Points system, claiming that the way Microsoft calculates payments is unfair to developers in the region. Hiroyuki Maruyama of G.dev used his Twitter account to highlight the injustice, saying that the exchange issues between Microsoft Points and the Japanese Yen are causing Japanese developers to avoid creating games for the Xbox 360.

Here's what he said (after translation):

A strong yen and a weak dollar is very damaging to us because XBLA and DLC are ‘export products.’ That’s why Japanese developers avoid making games for Xbox 360. When we released Strania on XBLA, the rate was 80 yen per dollar. (wry smile) If Japanese people buy our game in MSP, we receive in dollars!

The issues stem from the fact that Microsoft pays out to all Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) developers based on the US dollar value of the Microsoft Points used to buy the game. In Japan, 1600 MSP costs you ¥2,240, which equates to around US$25, whereas in the United States the same amount of points only costs you $20. When Japanese Xbox 360 users purchase games in the region for 1600 MSP, having spent the equivalent of US$25, the developers' payout is calculated based on only a US$20 purchase, causing the developers to effectively lose money in the region.

It's currently not entirely clear how much extra cash Microsoft makes from this sort of conversion, but when speaking anonymously to XBLA Fans other developers echoed the concerns of Maruyama. And it's not just the conversion costs that are off-putting to XBLA developers, but also the reportedly high costs for patching games on the platform, along with costs associated with publishing and marketing the games.

Traditionally Japan has been a weak market for the Xbox 360, but issues such as this do no favors for promoting the platform. Microsoft was originally heard to be phasing out the Microsoft Points system across all products, but while this has happened for music and video purchases, it still remains for Xbox 360 purchases. With the impending announcement and release of a new console, it's possible that this will change, but not 100% clear at this stage.

Source: XBLA Fans

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23 Comments

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Not that it matters because the dollar has been weak for a quite a bit of time.. but if the dollar was stronger than the yen... wouldnt the developers get more money? Im sure they wouldnt complain then..

i am surprised that Microsoft would not have an exchange system so that the point value is based locally rather than on the USD. sounds a bit stupid to me. Also i thought they were going to get rid of the point system?

Probably because it is something related to dollar fluctuation regarding the Yen, and possibly this wasn't an issue some time ago.

Whoever at Microsoft is insisting on keeping the points system needs to be fired. Telling people the straight price (minus taxes) instead of hiding it behind a points number has been the preferred method of sales for centuries.

I would much rather DLC have dollar values flat out than having to buy points.

agreed, you end up with misc points scattered around, it's really annoying buying the points instead of a simply £ value.

REM2000 said,
agreed, you end up with misc points scattered around, it's really annoying buying the points instead of a simply £ value.

So what you're saying is that it's a very profitable system like gift cards and agreeing the person who came up with it should be fired? In the real world the person who comes up with a system that makes the company billions of dollars usually gets a promotion.

macrosslover said,
Whoever at Microsoft is insisting on keeping the points system needs to be fired. Telling people the straight price (minus taxes) instead of hiding it behind a points number has been the preferred method of sales for centuries.

I would much rather DLC have dollar values flat out than having to buy points.


Its all about money, if you look at the points cards and then the average cost of a game you will always end up with points left over that you cant spend on anything else worthwhile, so then you go out and buy more points than you need and end up with points left over again.

It's no different than PSN, everything is in your local currency but you can only top up your account in fixed amounts so you are always left with money you cant spend.

Agreed. The only benefit they have is when making smaller transactions, because the per transaction fee would be on the block of points, not a pair of jeans for your avatar... But with the size that the XBox Live account must be, they should be able to negotiate with the credit card companies fairly well...

macrosslover said,
Whoever at Microsoft is insisting on keeping the points system needs to be fired. Telling people the straight price (minus taxes) instead of hiding it behind a points number has been the preferred method of sales for centuries.

I would much rather DLC have dollar values flat out than having to buy points.


Windows Store uses straight monetary transactions. So does Xbox Music. I think points might be going away.

TheLegendOfMart said,

Its all about money, if you look at the points cards and then the average cost of a game you will always end up with points left over that you cant spend on anything else worthwhile, so then you go out and buy more points than you need and end up with points left over again.

It's no different than PSN, everything is in your local currency but you can only top up your account in fixed amounts so you are always left with money you cant spend.

Actually, PSN is different. I don't have any left over monies in my PSN account, because you actually just get charged for what the game cost. If the game is $14.98, it charges you $14.98. There is no need for set amount deductions. Just actual cost deductions.

macrosslover said,
Telling people the straight price (minus taxes)

Some countries require prices be labeled with taxes in the sticker price. The work involved would undoubtedly cause them to do a cost/benefit analysis and pull out of some markets.

macrosslover said,
instead of hiding it behind a points number has been the preferred method of sales for centuries.

what a daft comment. You do understand that your local currency is just a points system agreed upon by your governing bodies. Let's all go back to bartering. 3 chickens and a goat for the latest MW10!

I completely and 100% disagree, they should keep the points system, and here's the simple reason why, stores will NOT discount cards if they're currency based, with points you can get 15-20 and sometimes even 50% off, this will NEVER happen with a system that uses straight money.

M_Lyons10 said,
By that logic, the US has XBox, so there shouldn't be Nintendo or Sony...

No, he was saying that Japan has two very strong console brands that are deeply integrated into Japanese gaming culture, add this to the xenophobic nature of the Japanese and it creates a perfectly viable scenario in which Japanese gamers do not accept a console that was designed for and marketed to the west.