Hiroyuki Maruyama, the leader of developer G. Rev, says that the current Microsoft policy for Points currency exchanges is unfair to Japanese developers who are being punished for the relative strength of their own Yen against the dollars.Speaking via Twitter and translated by Eurogamer, the developer says, “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.”
He adds, “When we released Strania on XBLA, the rate was ¥80 per dollar. If Japanese people buy our game in MSP, we receive in dollars.”
For a video game that sells well, the losses from Microsoft Points to dollars conversion might be significant.
Other Xbox Live Arcade developers have confirmed the policy and have stated that the criticism from Hiroyuki Maruyama is valid.
Traditionally, the Xbox 360 has sold badly on the Japanese market and that might represent another reason for developers to avoid it and focus on the PlayStation 3 from Sony or on the Wii U from Nintendo.
Many other developers and analysts believe that the Microsoft Points system used for Xbox 360 digital sales should be scrapped but so far, the company has stuck with it.
The situation might change for the next-generation home consoles, which is codenamed Durango and might be launched before the end of the year.
No official information exists about the device, but rumors suggest that it will make extensive use of digital distribution and that users will be able to get access to content without the intrusion of the Point system.
An official announcement for the Xbox 720 and the PlayStation 4 is expected to arrive before E3 2013 and both companies are currently sending prototypes of the device to a small number of developers.