At Nintendo of America, the blues of agency workers – News

In an extensive survey published this week on IGNKat Bailey offers us a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Nintendo of America and more specifically into the dichotomy between the full-time employees, who can be seen on Redmond’s state-of-the-art campus, and the temps who work in an older neighboring building in less favorable conditions .

Second Class Citizens“, that’s how the agency workers interviewed by IGN see themselves. The lack of attention they have to deal with contractors, as they are known in the United States, is an increasingly common topic in the video game industry and beyond. Activision also recently made headlines (for good this time) by announcing the transformation of 1,000 temporary contracts into full-time positions, which means not only better pay, but a real sense of belonging to the company and the prospect of being able to progress therein.

More flexible and cheaper than employees, temps are also legion at Nintendo of America. Lonely employees are given a blue badge that prevents them from entering the headquarters or even the nearby football field, facilities only accessible to “real” Nintendo employees, the ones with the coveted red badge. IGN’s research highlights the contrast between the image Nintendo likes to portray itself through marketing that is as cheerful as it is controlled, and a less hospitable reality for employees who aren’t lucky enough to be on the right side of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Full-time employees generally praise Nintendo, whether we’re talking about the atmosphere or the seemingly stronger job security compared to the rest of the video game industry. Nintendo of America has a 4.7% employee turnover rate that is significantly lower than other tech companies, an industry whose average is close to 13%. Even today, at Nintendo of America, one can find a certain number of people who have known the days of the NES.

By contrast, among temps, there is a surprisingly strict, formal and bureaucratic work culture, with employees bluntly apologizing if they have to leave 15 minutes early. Temporary workers explain that they have to account for almost every minute of their day on an attendance sheet and it is against a backdrop of paranoia that some say they are afraid to leave their workplace for a few minutes to go to the bathroom for fear that Microsoft Teams does not mark them as inactive.

Kat Bailey could only measure the contrast between these testimonials and the “sometimes overwhelming positivity“full-time employees constantly talking about how lucky they are to be with Nintendo, especially in areas like marketing and localization. to crack on April 15 when the site axios disclosed the complaint filed with the National Council for Labor Relations† It alleges that Nintendo of America and the recruitment agency Aston Carter engaged in “coordinated activities“and took”coercive measures“to an employee in his efforts to organize, which has led to testimonials from former Nintendo employees who do not have fond memories of their experience.

IGN’s research adds to an article by Kotaku already highlighting the unfavorable treatment of subcontractors by Nintendo of America. In this report, former agency workers talked about being discouraged from using facilities such as Café Mario or about strict attendance hours that could lead to being fired if, among other things, they do not work for three days. Contractors are barred from everything, including the company’s holiday party (unless invited by a full-time employee) and other red-badge-only activities. Morale is all the less good as the chances of being hired on a full-time basis have seemed extremely low for a number of years.

Nintendo is a very large, complicated and secretive company. And that’s kind of the root of the problem. Every contractor starts out with the hope of becoming a regular employee, and very, very, very few people make it.“, testifies one of Nintendo’s former employees for IGN. According to the observations of the survey, the employees felt a change in Nintendo’s culture around 2015, a relatively dark period for a manufacturer plagued by doubts after the failure of the Wii. You and the Death of the Late CEO Satoru Iwata Powered by the Wii/DS generation, Nintendo inaugurated its brand new Redmond campus in sparkling form five years ago.

In 2015, the opportunities for full-time PhDs have largely dried up and there are also not many new recruits in certain areas where the needs have increased sharply in recent years, such as writers and editors. Like many other companies, Nintendo preferred to rely on temporary workers for money and flexibility issues, which is not without complicating the progress of certain operations. By comparison, all employees of The Pokémon Company’s localization department would be full-time employees.

As IGN reminds us, citing articles from CNBC and New York Times, the exploitation of Nintendo of America agency workers is no exception in the technology sector. Some of the experiences are nonetheless uplifting to read, such as that of Jenn, who was once blamed for her “attendance issues” for being forced to return home in the middle of the interview process due to his sister’s death.

Like many others, Jenn gave up on taking a full-time job after 10 years at Nintendo, only realizing how bad her situation was much later. †We loved working there, we were just exploited that way. We didn’t realize it until we left… At Nintendo I was driven by passion and love for the product, and they know there is always a line of people who will do the exact same thing for dog food. And that’s the sad part. They know that if you complain, they can let you go and hire the next Jenn. I didn’t know I was on the planet of death until I left it‘ she sums up.

When Nintendo declined to comment on IGN’s investigation, the site got a response from Reggie Fils-Aimé, former Nintendo of America great figure who just dropped by to promote the release of his book. Not surprising, regginator denies any responsibility in the portrait painted today of his former company. †At this point, I retired from Nintendo of America three years ago and cannot comment on what is happening within the company today. What I can say is that when I was there we regularly hired contract employees as permanent employees […] This has always been a positive part of the company culture. I read the same stories about this separation between contract and full-time employees. All I can say is that this is not at all the culture I left behind when I retired from Nintendo” commented the one whose body is always ready.