Studios losing out due to Microsoft paying out revenues based on US dollar instead of the Yen

Microsoft Points ‘damaging’ for Japanese XBLA devs

Japanese developers are losing out on XBLA revenue due to the Microsoft Points conversion rates policy, the president of arcade shooter studio G-Rev has claimed.

Taking to Twitter, as translated by XBLAFans, Hiroyuki Maruyama said that the strong yen and weak dollar was proving a problem for developers in Japan as XBLA and DLC were regarded as export products.

“A strong yen and a weak dollar is very damaging to us because XBLA and DLC are ‘export products,’” he said.

“That’s why Japanese developers avoid making games for Xbox 360. When we released Strania on XBLA, the rate was 80 yen per dollar. If Japanese people buy our game in MSP, we receive in dollars!”

At the time of making the statement, the 80 yen was worth roughly one dollar (Although this has gone up to approximately 89.5 yen per dollar at the time of writing). This meant that while 1,600 Microsoft Points would be worth $19.99 in the US, it would cost Japanese consumers just under $25 when converted.

Despite this, Microsoft still calculates money owed to developers based on the dollar value rather than what consumers had paid for, meaning developers are losing out and Microsoft is making gains.

Microsoft has been criticised by numerous developers for some of its XBLA policies in the past.

Last year indie developer Phil Fish said his studio Polytron was unable to patch isometric platformer Fez on the console due to excessive fees in the range of “tens of thousands” to do so.

Double Fine director Tim Schafer also said it cost developers much more money to release a game on the PS3 and Xbox 360 compared to the App Store, with the cost of patching a real problem for developers.

Schafer was speaking in response to a survey of more than 100 indie game developers that suggested an increased number of them were turning away from the platform.

"I was hoping that would be a really, really eye-opening article for the console manufacturers and I feel like it’s been totally dismissed,” he said.

“I really think it’s something they can’t dismiss and they should really pay a lot more attention to because he’s calling attention to a migration, an exodus of real creative talent away from those platforms to more open platforms, and I think they should do something quick to reverse that.”

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