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.

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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.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 8, 2013 12:00 PM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, 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.

    • reply
      July 8, 2013 12:17 PM

      I like this. Lots of companies only look at the short term, its good to see a company thinking long term.

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      July 8, 2013 12:19 PM

      Nintendo probably has enough cash to live off the interest. Tomorrow they'll decide what country they're going to buy!

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      July 8, 2013 12:20 PM

      Admirable. Still won't make me buy a Wii U or any Nintendo console for that matter (haven't since the Super Nintendo), but I admire Nintendo's stick-to-it-tiveness. It would be nice to see some new IP though.

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        July 8, 2013 12:25 PM

        Oh, scratch that, I did buy a Wii...liked Mario Galaxy but never finished it, sold it at a profit after a month. If they ever put TLOZ: Wind Waker or Mario 64 on mobile, XBLA or PSN, I would buy it in a heartbeat, but I don't think that's ever going to happen.

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        July 8, 2013 1:18 PM

        The Wii's got enough solid titles to warrant having one, if you figure in virtual console for classic games, and the fact that it can play Gamecube titles. Also, Wii games: Muramasa, Zelda: Skyward Sword, Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Smash Bros, Mario Kart, Metriod Prime Trilogy.

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      July 8, 2013 12:31 PM

      Nintendo is awesome. Even though there was no price drop on their system, I still went ahead and purchased a Wii U because from E3, this year coming up they got the games I want to play. Luigi U and boost mode co op is awesome. I think N's big problem this year was the streaming disruption of communication at Nintendo Direct during E3. Going back and watching X, Mario World-- Nintendo is going to be having a good year as long as they better communicate what wii u has to offer. X looks way more fun than TitanFall.

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      July 8, 2013 12:58 PM

      Was just reading yesterday that the JRPG that I was most looking forward to on the 3DS (bravely default) wasn't even being considered for a State-side release. They eventually relented again after fan requests, but it won't be until fucking 2014. The game came out in Japan in Oct 2012, and was one of the highest profile, and best reviewed releases for the system.

      Is this more Nintendo 'fuck you core gamers' shit? I thought they'd learned their lesson for the whole Xenoblade farce.

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        July 8, 2013 7:15 PM

        Jeez dude, don't take it so personally. Obscure JRPG's don't really sell, generally. That's changing somewhat, but it's still a risky proposition. I did read that we can expect more translated digital-only releases, since they're lower risk

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          July 8, 2013 7:39 PM

          It's not obscure. It was one of the highest profile releases for the 3DS in 2012 in Japan.

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            July 8, 2013 8:51 PM

            I'm sure most shackers and 3DS owners don't even know what that game is. Let's be realistic here. JRPGs have been gaining some steam in the west lately, but it's still a risky proposition to localize without knowing if the demand is there.

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              July 8, 2013 9:10 PM

              They don't know what it is because it never gets any push from Nintendo PR people. JRPGs aren't the gem they were in the SNES and PS days, but they can still make a profit and appease the core gamer market if they're given the PR they need. And this game has beautiful, unique artwork and graphics that should make it easy to market.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7lkPgshnmA

          • Ebu legacy 10 years
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            July 8, 2013 9:15 PM

            You do understand that the US and Japan are different places, though, right?

            Famous there doesn't mean famous here.

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              July 8, 2013 9:40 PM

              I didn't say that. Being high profile in Japan, means it should be at least be considered for localization right off the bat. Fans shouldn't have to beg to get them to decide to maybe release it 2-3 years later.

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                July 8, 2013 10:16 PM

                nintendo is in the business of making money. they're the only ones out the 3 that do make money just from selling their system. they've probably done a cost analysis to see if it's worth bringing it to the states and decided it wasn't profitable.

                as for the 2014 release. do you want an engrish or english port?

              • Ebu legacy 10 years
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                July 9, 2013 12:12 AM

                No, it doesn't mean that.

                Being successful in Japan in no way indicates the potential for success in the US, just as being successful here in no way implies there'll be success in Japan. Very different markets.

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                July 9, 2013 12:47 AM

                What is the game?

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                July 9, 2013 3:14 AM

                Especially given that it's from the biggest JRPG developer and is by many accounts, basically like another FF title.

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        July 9, 2013 5:40 AM

        Bravely Default is coming, just be patient. It's the 3DS version of Dragon Quest VII we need to be twisting their arm for now.

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      July 8, 2013 1:28 PM

      keeping around people who do not pull their weight also makes worse games

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        July 8, 2013 1:30 PM

        that might not even be the issue.

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        July 8, 2013 1:33 PM

        it wouldn't typically be called "layoffs" if they're firing people for underperforming. that's just normal firing and i'd assume they still do that

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        July 8, 2013 9:12 PM

        Doesn't sound like the issue. The common practice in game development is to fire half or more of a development team, quality be damned.

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        July 9, 2013 5:21 AM

        that's not why people get laid off. that's why people get fired.

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        July 9, 2013 6:04 AM

        That's not what a layoff is generally referring to.

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      July 8, 2013 8:54 PM

      imagine the games certain teams could create if they could work together for a decade or more and just hone their craft. maybe replace certain members, obviously, but keep the core together. i.e, naughty dog or someone. vs. just being treated like a contractor, working for 1-3 years on a title, then being shitcanned with no protections to find your next role on a totally new team, for a new publisher, making something totally different.

      look at games that established teams (decades established) make compared to the crank & bank titles that get pumped out every 12-24 months by the usual suspects.

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        July 8, 2013 9:10 PM

        There are pluses AND minuses to having entrenched, internal teams.

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        July 8, 2013 9:26 PM

        I think it shows since they are able to keep pumping out amazing first party remakes, in house, and keep it fresh. Shit, Mario is almost 30 years old. I can't think of another developer that has kept a franchise alive for that long and actually continue to make great games out of it.

        Seems like the only time they falter is when they play with fire and send it out to a third party dev. There is the occasional exception, like Retro, but other times it's a screw up, Team Ninja.

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      July 8, 2013 9:14 PM

      japanese labor model, not surprising

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      July 8, 2013 10:25 PM

      UH FUCK THAT I HOPE THE WIIU FAILS MISERABLY

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