News Article

Iwata And Miyamoto Both Take Pay Cuts In Response To Nintendo's Poor Financial Results

Posted by Damien McFerran

Iwata halves his salary, Miyamoto takes a 30 percent cut

It has been revealed that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata will be taking a 50 percent pay reduction following Nintendo's recent financial results.

He's not the only one taking a cut; legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto will see his wage slashed by 30 percent, as will fellow Nintendo veteran Genyo Takeda. The seven other members of the company's board will each shoulder a 20 percent reduction.

The news comes after Nintendo issued warnings of further financial losses in the future, attributed to the poor commercial performance of the Wii U console. Nintendo expects to make a loss in Q4 of 2014.


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User Comments (106)



shaneoh said:

And in the western world executives would be laying people off rather than take a pay cut



McHaggis said:

These lot could show politicians a thing or two. Instead, politicians increase their salaries whilst the country is in financial trouble.

@Wonder_Mask: it's not that bad, really. It's not like he'll have to start wiping with 1 ply toilet paper any time soon.



Sean_Aaron said:

That's what an executive staff does that has faith in their ability to change the fortunes of their company.



LoBo said:

Awww bless both of those poor multi millionaires , having to take a pay cut xD



NintyMan said:

I think they'll be fine with less pay, but half of your salary sure sounds bad. Regardless if it's just a Japanese way of business or a personal move, it's admirable of them to do such a thing. This would make them focus on making Wii U better, as they did when they took pay cuts when 3DS was struggling.



Magikarp3 said:

These guys. I like these guys. There's nothing more dignified than acknowledging your mistakes, so I'm sure everyone at Nintendo will be working extra hard to reverse the situation they're in.



Sockymon said:

Not quite falling on their swords, more like jabbing themselves with a letter opener. Next, take away their discount at the staff canteen, that'll focus their minds on... oh, I don't know... maybe making more games...?



HarryK said:

Uhm... without numbers that doesn't say anything at all. Iwata should get an average every-day-loan for what he did last year (more precise: for what he didn't do). I assume 50 % of what he usually earns is still a lot, though.



larry_koopa said:

What this article fails to mention is that Iwata's salary is being reduced by 50% for only the next 5 months. I'm sure the man will be able to get by.

Still, I applaud this type of move as opposed to laying off other employees in the company.



SBOY said:

And here in Québec they would have take bonus and cut the staff....



LavaTwilight said:

See now this is why I love Nintendo! It shows true dedication to what you love in order to take a paycut like that and still continue to work. I don't know any other company who have done that! These guys deserve to be marked in history! True Legends! I hope they continue the fine work that have caused them to be so remarkable in the first place.



LavaTwilight said:

They probably would've fired their middle-management whilst taking a bonus for themselves and still laying off a few people. They don't get a reputation as 'worst company ever' two years in a row for simply re-releasing the same game every year with minor tweaks!



ajcismo said:

Whoopie doo. Maybe they can take some of that salary they were supposed to get and put it into Marketing and Promotion.
I get that people are impressed by their honor and difference in culture, but they're taking cuts because of lousy business decisions that have been going on for years.



Mk_II said:

This is not an empty gesture. In Japan, the salary for these kinds of top positions is much less than in the US.



MoonKnight7 said:

In America this would never happen. First they would give themselves a bonus, give money to politicians, buy a couple of corporate planes. After that, then they will cut their staff because they can't afford all of it.



element187 said:

@Sockymon you should read their Q3 report on why they were expecting losses in Q4..., it's because, wait for it, wait for it..... Investing in new games, advertising and R&D



Sockymon said:

@element187 Even if the Wii U is never going to pick up lost ground with the mainstream audience, there's clearly a die hard consumer base that's just crying out to put their hands in their pockets for new software. Heck, they'll even re-buy old games when the Virtual Console is updated... sporadically. How hard can it be to cater for those kind of gamers?



whodatninja said:

So is this officially from Nintendo? Not some journalists? If so that's pretty sad. I feel bad for Iwata and co! I want them to succeed and improve the Wii U and 3DS, not take money off their salary! Not what i wanted to happen, but i'm glad that A) no ditching Wii U and B) no going third party!

I guess it's common in Japan for this to happen though, them being so into honor and responsibility and stuff.



DualWielding said:

He can work for free if he wants but things won't improve if he is unwilling to address issues such as removing region locks or allowing people to retrieve their games when their console is not accessible without having to send it back to Nintendo.



sinalefa said:

I don't see why some people care so much if they are rich and they are taking a price cut. Reduce the salary of anyone to see how much they like it.

The management does not have to become homeless people so we can say "oh, it is so big a sacrifice they are going through"



Artie said:

@Sockymon Would you rather see them ruin the lives of their lesser paid staff and run the company into the ground like any western executive? You respond like they are crying over it, they aren't. They are making a gesture of faith that says my choices led to these problems, I'll shoulder the burden of blame. If this were a western developer whole teams would be laid off before an executive took a paycut. They would drive the company bankrupt, lay everyone off and take what was left as a bonus, dissolve the company and move on to destroy another company in five to ten years.



Goginho said:

Respect to these guys for taking the responsibility. Even though it may not be as big a pay cut for their status, it's still a display of true Japanease discipline and honour. Not always the typical "me, me, and only me", pointing fingers at others mentality we know in the West.



Kolzig said:

This is incredible with Nintendo and many other Japanese companies. Western companies just think about profit, management's bonuses etc. and will sacrifice the normal workers to reach the profit levels.

But Nintendo doesn't, they will hang on to all their valued workers and instead the management takes a paycut.

I salute these honest and honorable men.

You will never see for example EA bosses taking a paycut to cover for the losses, they will kick out a mass of their own low level workers instead.



Sockymon said:

@Artie Gestures of faith are nice. They don't create a single extra sale though, so the root problem isn't fixed. Executive pay cuts don't rule out future job losses at a later date either. The announcement that Nintendo need to make is, "Here is a big list of top quality titles that gamers will want to buy." Then hold up a bit of paper with the list on and their release dates



Kolzig said:

What I hope Nintendo will do know is really start working. The advertising engine must start to work at full speed and really push higher all the upcoming titles, not just first party but all the good indie and 3rd party big titles as well.

Also make good and clear ads that show what the Wii U is about, I would want to see less of weird Agassi ads that confuse people and just show straight gameplay and blow people's minds.



ICHIkatakuri said:

I get the feeling if they made an advert which starts in the 80's and a kid playing the NES and as the kid got older they showed him/her getting new consoles along with school graduation, a job, a family, a new house, up to a wii and finishing with him/her replacing the Wii with a Wii U putting the two side by side you would see the difference in graphics and form factor it would hammer home this is the next generation of Nintendo consoles for the old and new generation of Nintendo gamers. They could also highlight the different things each one brought to gaming and make themselves look classy and innovative rather than the kids explaining to their parents what a Wii U is. Plus it would maybe show kids what their parents played on and how far games had come, play on peoples nostaligia



rjejr said:

I don't know enough about Japanese culture to know what Iwata gets paid - I know there have been US guys who get paid $1 per year b/c they make millions in stock options or bonuses or whatever - but half is still half, it's a meaningful gesture, not like 5%or something. The guy is in charge, he could have done nothing, so I see half as symbolical at least.

Miyamoto should never get a pay cut, EVER, the guy basically IS Nintendo. If he took all his IP (Which I'm sure Nintendo technically owns so he couldn't, just saying) and went home what would Nintendo have left?

Is Reggie getting a pay cut?



WaveGhoul said:


Mario Kart will be their ultimate weapon, much more so than Smash. When was the last time you saw Soccer mom Sally play a smash game?



LoBo said:

I hope you're right about Mario kart , I think to it will be huge , all I wish for now is the release date to be confirmed , also where is January's Nintendo direct ?.. maybe we will get conformation then



Pod said:

...Didn't Iwata halve his salary 2½ years ago when they dropped the price of the 3DS?

Does he only have a quarter left now, of is it merely a humilty stunt, and his salary has since been raised to normal levels?



billychaos said:

I know a lot of people don't like Nintendo, but what an honorable company. There just aren't too many employees that have this kind of devotion much anymore (at least in America, where it's the opposite... lay off everyone else while the big wigs sit in luxury). During America's recent recession the company I worked for, absolutely refused to let anyone go during hard times. Instead they did not give anyone raises for a year (including Big wigs and the President). After they recovered, just about everyone got nice raises. A lot of people just don't understand how great it is to work for a company that are not in it for themselves. I'm glad to see this devotion Iwata and his team has.



Darknyht said:

@Tsuzura sad isn't it. Unfortunately, there is not a single magic bullet that will fix Nintendo's problems with the Wii U.



banacheck said:

I don't see how taking another pay cut will solve the problem, other than publicity.



Knuckles said:

So unless Iwata's and Miyamoto's salaries have been raised since their 2011 pay cuts, in which it was 50% for Iwata, 30% for Miyamoto, Iwata currently gets 25% of what he made in 2011, and Miyamoto gets 40%.



kyuubikid213 said:

I love how so many people here are brushing this off as though it's nothing.

Bet if any of you had a product that wasn't doing well the LAST thing you'd do is take a pay cut to put money toward the success of said product.



vattodev said:

And again, they show the whole world that they are serious about their work. Congratulations, Nintendo.



shingi_70 said:

While were saying that Nintendo is honorable isn't that mostly the people who work there now. I mean just reading what I have about Yammuchi dude would have fired from the top and got rid of guys quickly.

Still I don't think Nintendo xoikd have afforded to so Maas firings when they just hired new staff and finished new buildgs. That would have looked even worse on headlines.



2Sang said:

How dare they even attempt to allow Miyamoto to make a pay cut. Him and Sakurai are the only reasons that nintendo still exists as a company. In fact, shiggy made the only 2 worthwhile wii u games to date and without pikmin 3 and super mario 3d world, the wii u wouldn't have sold half of what they have sold so far.
Iwata rightfully deserves a pay cut, and he owned up to it. Shiggy, however is one of the few people that is doing their job currently at nintendo.



Sceptic said:

Yeah, roughing it by reducing your salary for a measly five months is a real gesture when you've pulverized two billion in market value and jeopordized your company's future. Top lad, this Iwata.

A gesture would have been to reduce his salary until he can show he's turned things around. A gesture would have been to just step down. This so called gesture is just a Machiavellian propaganda trick, and not even a clever one at that.



oreqano said:

I think the point is that he is taking responsibility. And instead of hurting the staff, he takes the paycut. It doesn't mean he has to struggle to make a meaningful gesture. Nobody has to struggle. Get it?



A1234 said:

that is awful when this happens. pay reduction

same as letting people go, etc.



SecondServing said:

If 2014 goes the same exact way as 2013,(little to no marketing, no needed changes to Wii U, lack of games) Iwata needs to go. 2014 is make or break for Iwata.



Jaguar11891 said:

This is why I have a lot of respect for Nintendo. This would never happen in the West if a company received a loss.



TheRealThanos said:

@Pod For you and others that are interested, here an older article and it's source so as to get the whole picture, both are pre-3DS:$770000-basic-salary
Now take into account the 50% pay cut Iwata-san took for the bad start of the 3DS, and then this current pay cut to make half of that. Realistically, it is not to be expected that he hasn't had a raise after the 3DS finally became successful, but since it is only reasonably successful compared to the Wii and DS (so it is not (yet) printing money as some like to say) it seems also fairly realistic to assume that his raise isn't the same as the earlier cut, but rather something like 20 to 25%. So, in short: 50% off, 25% raise, 50% off again now. Including the bonuses mentioned in the links, he should be receiving a yearly salary of about $1 million.
Some people here will probably think that this is huge or ridiculous/outrageous, especially considering the comments they have already posted, but compared to the other companies mentioned in the links I gave you, it is ridiculously low and indeed shows how much value they still attach to traditions and codes of conduct that have been practiced in Japan since the day of the samurai...
@everyone People saying that they don't get this don't understand or aren't willing to try to understand Japanese culture. It is a proud culture and to take responsibility and in this case, a hefty pay cut is not only taking the blame, but also shouldering a burden of shame/disgrace and that is a BIG thing in Japan or any Asian culture for that matter, it has NOTHING to do with creating good publicity for yourself or your company. That's first and foremost a Western thing...
As many before me have said, Western companies lay blame at lower levels, fire largely innocent people, and even if an executive finally has to go because the situation is spinning out of control, he still gets a really nice farewell bonus for all his "troubles"...



FJOJR said:

How does the ownership of the Seattle Mariners factor into their finances? Because that Robinson Cano contract is definitely eating up some Wii U money.



Aerona said:

These men seem to be great role models in personal responsibility, and that should be applauded.



HyperSonicEXE said:

The board takes cuts. Okay, whatever.
I want to see who greenlit the GamePad and two Yoshi games in a row, as well as pushing Steel Divers. Sticker Star.

I want this person's name out in the open, and canned.



AdanVC said:

Iwata, Miyamoto, I salute you. Of course they would not fire anybody, they have THE BEST game developers on the industry, do you think Nintendo want to lay off Koji Kondo, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Eiji Aonuma, Takashi Tezuka, etc? Those are truly masters on their fields, so of course Nintendo would never let them go!



unrandomsam said:

@shaneoh Some only take a dollar of salary anyway. There are also the ones that run a company into the ground in the short term. Get fired but somehow still get a huge pay off and then move somewhere else to do the same. (How their past actions have no relevance on their ability to do that I will never understand. It only seems to apply to the very top).



unrandomsam said:

@HyperSonicEXE Miyamoto more than likely. The Yoshi situation is obvious they need more quantity and they can do them with less involvement. Gamepad - I want to know why Retro isn't using it at all for Donkey Kong. (If the reasons are what I think then it is fundamentally broken).



TheRealThanos said:

@HyperSonicEXE Ah, one of those not understanding I see. Firing people won't help the Wii U OR Nintendo move forward an inch more. You're not seeing the bigger picture here.
@unrandomsam And then only to the very top of Western companies for the majority of such instances.



HyperSonicEXE said:

No one knows what's going on here, that's the problem. Some very terrible uses of company resources are being made, and whoever's making the decisions have had plenty of chance to stop, starting as far back as Wii Music, GBA F-Zero games, the e-Reader, and the Wii Zapper.

A few mistakes, a Virtual Boy here and there, well, it happens. I didn't call for this on the 3DS, just like I don't think the Wii U is doomed, because Nintendo's software is unmatched. But, somebody, or a couple of somebody's, have greenlit some projects that would blatantly not sell.

I would like to know whom.



Neko_Ichigofan said:

@unrandomsam That is mostly a western approach in business and isn't overly common in Japan, now I'm not saying that applies to all Japanese companies, but it is far less common.



TheRealThanos said:

@HyperSonicEXE But to what end? What good will it do YOU or any customer for that matter? Nada, zilch, nothing, ZERO comma ZERO and that is my point. And you say no one knows what's going on here but then go on to say that some terrible uses of company resources are being made. That is called "contradictio in terminus" in Latin...
The thing is no one knows and therefore we can only guess, but in general it is safe to assume that Nintendo's intention is always to make plans towards the benefit of the company, as any sane company would. That things don't always turn out as planned, well, that's just the nature of business in general. And people and economies...
Good to see you keeping a level head on the Wii U situation though, but there isn't any disaster to spell from the other things you mentioned either. When I started my career of sales and marketing specialist I got a job at Hewlett Packard and now, almost 13 years later, I can honestly tell you that some of the mistakes there over the years, ESPECIALLY in the late nineties/early 2000's, will make Nintendo's look like a minor hiccup. The difference being that most of HP's mistakes remained indoors...



HyperSonicEXE said:

No one knows what's going on -internally-.
Is it the entire dev team agreeing to a project? That's different.
Is it a few executives handing down damaging mandates? Yes, that seems plausible given Japanese business culture, but it could also just as easily be a symptom of a much larger problem of the entire Nintendo development process being out of touch with what consumers want.

On paper, no, one firing doesn't make a lick of difference. But again, if said person or persons are high up enough that it is beneficial to cut them from the creative and administrative process such that the company's resources aren't poured into failing products, employees make more meaningful and desirable games and have greater say and satisfaction, and the consumers don't have to wait out a bad release for something actually worthwhile or waste money on an unoptimized or rarely used peripheral, without negatively impacting internal morale, then yes, it's extremely worthwhile.

That's a lot of if's, but I don't need my MBA to see the benefit of that sort of move.



Doma said:

Who CARES if he does this again... Their salaries deserve to be based on performance anyhow. What did their last pay cut help achieve?

Iwata and his team clinging to their positions will only cause more damage to Nintendo, in the long run.



Spartacus3765 said:

I'm for the most part with you on all that. I want to also add that to me, it's a frustrating lack of communication between the consumers/fans and this company. And I'm talking marketing, advertising, announcements, anything to do with their products - what they are, why we don't hear about this or that, everything.

I know they like to unveil things dramatically to keep the shock & awe, but sometimes we're kept so much in the dark, it's hard to even care. For example, it was I think about a year ago when they announced the Wii U's virtual console capabilities coming to the eshop stating that GBA and N64 will be available platforms. My excitement has turned to a disbelief that we'll actually receive said platforms. And why? We haven't heard a darn thing about it! Same goes for the reasoning behind the NA not getting Super Mario Bros. 3 and A Link to the Past. What's the reason behind this? If it's not good, then still tell us. Instead, we're left with no reason and how I've taken it is that they aren't willing to care to support the service. Maybe it's a wrong view, but since we don't have any COMMUNICATION on it, no one can tell me otherwise.

It's very admirable to see Iwata and Miyamoto do this for this company, but I still think we're missing a huge piece of what's happening. Based on the recent financial backlash and fan outcries, if tomorrow's releases don't include something of substance for NA (Super Mario Bros. 3, A Link to the Past, etc.) virtual console wise or anything for that matter - I won't be pleased at all. And here's the thing, I'm not a huge fan of either of those games in particular (ok maybe A Link to the Past a little) but we'll actually finally see something that resembles "listening" to their fans.



TheRealThanos said:

@HyperSonicEXE You say damaging, I'd rather be a bit more cautious and taking both my own experience with Asian companies as well as Nintendo's own reputation into account, I'd rather call it restricting, and yes, that can be damaging as well, but you will find that across the globe, Japanese/Asian companies will ALWAYS adhere to a more strict hierarchy and way of doing business. That doesn't mean that they're implementing practices in terms of "my way or the highway" but it is more boxed in. Companies that blend more into other cultures (like Sony, that hardly has any native Asians in management left to speak of) are, for all intent and purposes all but completely Westernized.
Nintendo uses this method to continuously prove that at least their software is second to none, but we can agree that their ideas have, especially at the moment, a very inhibiting effect on the hardware side. But since we don't know what's going on inside AND we don't know what the end of the financial year will bring, coupled with what possible plans they will share with the world, it is far too soon to make any conclusions whatsoever. As for Iwata: in these kinds of companies, a person might sooner be relegated to a previous position because in the end they would want to remove the CEO making the (arguably) bad decisions, but contrary to Western companies, where the butt hurt is more than several tenfolds stronger, they also see the strength in people and so relegating will be a punishment fit for the failures made, but the company will still benefit from what the person CAN do right. As for what's next: between you and me and a couple of other people on here we might be able to make some pretty educated guesses even with what little info is available, but that is all they'll be so I guess we just have to wait and see what the big N is coming up with next...



SeVok said:

The western industry should take notes, this is how to do it. Maybe one thing we shouldn't be forgetting, I think, correct me if I'm wrong, this takes rather great courage to do so in the Japanese culture where failures are taken more harshly and far more personal.



JuanitoShet said:

The leaders of the company should feel the ache of a struggling company. So I'm glad they did this. It serves even more as a wake-up call than ever before. Good job.



Tender_Cutlet said:

Until Iwata is reduced to appearing on Nintendo Direct in ripped jeans and tshirt I won't be overly concerned for his financial security.



Doma said:

@Ernest_The_Crab So you mean it had nothing to do with the panic price drop and flow of games? The salary cut affected NOTHING - they even went on to repeat the exact same mistakes as with the 3DS (plus a whole load more that can't be recovered from so easily).



IceClimbers said:

@Doma They didn't repeat the same mistakes by choice, rather the first time they made those mistakes with the 3DS caused the Wii U's shortcomings. Meaning that when Nintendo made those mistakes the first time around with 3DS it had a double whammy effect. Wii U's lack of games at first is a DIRECT cause of Nintendo's mistakes with the 3DS launch because resources were completely focused on 3DS games rather than Wii U games. If Nintendo had chosen Wii U at the time (2011), both systems would likely be failing right now.



Vincent294 said:

@MoonKnight7 So true. This is what America should be like. Wii U is a flop. Next time, if they do better, of course they can raise their pay. Until the Wii U makes a comeback or something, this is what they should do. In America, the top screws the bottom in favor of having even more money they don't need or deserve. They get paid hundreds of times the wages of others for a position that isn't that much harder. Then they give bribes to politicians sometimes or pay to pressure them w/ lobbyists. America...even the government's overpaid.



B3ND3R said:

@3MonthBeef pretty much is the calm before the nintenstorm I know without a doubt they will overcome things and get back on track..



JaxonH said:

Pay cuts are a public statement of commitment. It says "We'll bare our share of the burden as well". It's symbolic more than anything, but it does let folks know they're willing to put their money where their mouth is. And you know they don't like their money being messed with. So a voluntary pay cut, to me, says they're gonna get the job done. I have full faith in Nintendo's leadership. Not just for financial success (cause what is that to a gamer anyways?), but to ensure we will always have both the home console and handheld option from Nintendo- and a sweeping array of their best titles alongside them. Now, ten years from now, fifty years from now.



TheRealThanos said:

@JaxonH You're on the right track but not quite there yet: I still spy a Western point of view. Bearing a burden is how Western people see this, and primarily from a "woe is me" point of view, because they are to be pitied for having to get through the month with less money. How it is, and how much worse it is for Asians from their point of view, I already explained in the second part of comment #71 directed at everyone, and a bit in #91 as well, so if you're interested, you might wanna scroll up a bit...



B3ND3R said:

If it were EA the article would read: EA Executives take bonus and fire half their employees except for those who were willing to pay for a 20 dollar DLC pack for extended employment.



JaxonH said:

@Spartacus3765 I hear you, and I agree those games should have come to VC by now, but for a different reason. They said SMB3 would come in 2013, so that's why they should do it. Cause they said they would. Zelda LttP was never promised, NA fans just started to envy Europeans who got the game. So that one I can't bee upset about.

I'm pretty sure if they planned to release SMB3 last year, they WANT to do so. Otherwise why say it's coming. So I would imagine they have a good reason for the delay. It's money out of their pocket by not having released it yet.

On a separate note, I get the whole listening to fans thing, but there aren't that many core fans left, and we all have different opinions and desires. Listening to fans can kill a business. Just because there's a thousand fans who want something doesn't justify doing it. We're not the majority, not by far. It's ok to every once in a while throw in some fan service, but we don't have the numbers nor common interests to reasonably expect Nintendo to cater to our specific desires.

I'm sure you could point to examples where demand for something was there. But that's the exception, not the rule, and it's always easy to see in hindsight. Listening to fans is always a gamble. Just because a group is vocal doesn't mean there's a large enough demand. Which is why most companies won't predicate specific decisions on vocal outcries.



AtlanteanMan said:

You won't see too many CEOs or other higher-ups take responsibility for their companies' mistakes or failings here in the US, much less a pay cut. It's always the lower-level employees and the consumers themselves who typically end up being impacted. The people at the top always make sure maintaining the status quo of their own lifestyle and excess continues regardless. Just maybe America could take a lesson from folks like Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto; character still matters ESPECIALLY at "the top".



Shambo said:

Living in the west, where they fire hundreds of people with every loss, then claim a bonus for themselves for saving the company or for staring out of the window for 10 minutes, I can only deeply respect this. Again, Iwata shows how to do it, and as always, some people are actually dumb enough to think firing him would save Nintendo. Nintendo is growing, despite some losses now and then, which they can afford, and everyone is yelling doom. Sony is closing headquarters, studio's, also making losses in their gaming branch, yet they're believed to be doing amazing...



NintendoROCKET said:

So while Justin Bieber's getting thousands a second, these poor non-money seeking people are losing money. What has this world come to!?

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