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 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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