Nintendo: layoffs not worth morale loss

While no decent person is ever pleased to see layoffs in the video games industry, they're generally accepted as part of the way it currently runs. Not so at Nintendo, company president Satoru Iwata has said.

Pleasantly, Nintendo's belief is that while layoffs will help finances in the short term, people who justifiably fear losing their jobs will make worse games.

"It is true that our business has its ups and downs every few years," Iwata said in a Q&A at the annual general meeting in June--the transcript only came online on Friday--but Nintendo plans to tackle it by becoming more efficient. Unlike many big publishers and platformer holders, though, its idea of improving business efficiency doesn't involve firing teams or closing studios.

"If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, however, employee morale will decrease, and I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world," Iwata explained.

"I also know that some employers publicize their restructuring plan to improve their financial performance by letting a number of their employees go, but at Nintendo, employees make valuable contributions in their respective fields, so I believe that laying off a group of employees will not help to strengthen Nintendo's business in the long run."

This course will steer Nintendo right in the end, he believes, saying that Nintendo's fortunes will turn again as more people buy Nintendo systems and exchange rates shift in its favour.