IGN USA has published a long and in-depth report dedicated to Nintendo of Americawithin which he speaks of working conditions of employees not hired full time.
More precisely, the report shows us the workplace of some “secondary” teams of Redmond office by Nintendo of America. This is an old building, which contrasts with the modern facilities nearby. Many workers in the departments assigned to that area work with old tools, such as PCs with Windows XP and a database that dates back to the 1990s.
The problems are also related to working conditions: workers are forced into secrecy and the need to translate directives from Japanese, which greatly slows down the work.
These are also not real Nintendo employees and feel they are being treated like second-class workers who will never have the opportunity to become full-time employees (although Nintendo advertises over 100 vacant positions) and obtain a “red badge” that grants access to the headquarters’ main buildings (football pitch included). More importantly, hiring would mean more security, more career opportunities but also just “professional respect”.
The IGN USA report presents the contrast of Nintendo of America in various ways. Full-time employees speak highly of the resources on offer, safety and their colleagues. At the same time, Nintendo is a very traditional, old-fashioned and very demanding company. An example is the fact that employees they must apologize in a formal and extreme way if you need to leave work even 15 minutes early. Even in case of illness it is necessary to apologize and promise to remain available in case of need.
Generally, self-employed workers must report on a report every minute of work performed during the day and fear they will leave their desk even for a moment as Microsoft Teams would report them as inactive. Employees also copied Homer from The Simpsons, using an object to make a keyboard key press at regular intervals to prevent the software from reporting their bathroom break. Furthermore, employees are afraid to write on social media, because they would be scolded or even fired at the slightest problem.
In general, Nintendo of America has increasingly decreased full-time hires and has increasingly relied on the work of independent collaborators, without ever making them “red badges”, even in areas of great expansion such as translators and editors, the whose demand has tripled in recent years. This has also led to the problem of layoffs. Many self-employed workers don’t last more than a year before leaving the company and this forces full-time workers to retrain new employees.
However, it is explained that Nintendo knows it will be able to find new passionate people ready to work for it and does not worry about losing these workers.
The IGN USA report, available herethen reports various examples and specific stories of people who spoke to the newspaper.
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Nintendo of America: the hidden side of the American company in a report by IGN USA
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