News Article

Full Extent of Nintendo of Europe Job Cuts Becomes Clear

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Around 320 roles are lost overall

Earlier this year we reported on a reshuffle at Nintendo of Europe that was bringing the loss of 130 permanent jobs, with the Gro├čostheim office in Germany being the largest affected area due to its closure.

It's emerged, however, that the total number of roles that will be lost as of 31st August is nearer 320. As reported by Kotaku, this is due to 190 roles being lost in the localisation department; these jobs were fulfilled through an agency, but those part time staff reportedly worked exclusively for Nintendo in that capacity, in some cases for a number of years. Nintendo issued the following statement.

As previously communicated in June 2014, approximately 130 permanent employees will be released by Nintendo of Europe (Germany) at the end of August 2014 as part of a set of measures to better enable the European business to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment.

As a separate measure, Nintendo of Europe is reorganizing its European Localization Development (ELD) department, where it currently uses a number of temporary agency workers in translation and testing activities, in order to increase flexibility and cost-efficiency in the long-term. It is intended that there will be an increase in outsourcing future translation and test activities to third-party companies on an as-needed basis, and very sadly this has meant having ended the contracts of 190 temporary agency workers, who were formally notified of this decision in June 2014.

Our thoughts are with those affected by the cuts.

Thanks to Benson Uii for the heads up.

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (85)

unrandomsam

#2

unrandomsam said:

Wondered why it is being reported like this. Getting rid of agency workers is not normally counted. (Same as with contractors).

CaviarMeths

#5

CaviarMeths said:

@Ufaowl The opposite, most likely. Before, Nintendo of Europe relied on contracts with temporary workers to localize games. Now they are instead outsourcing it to 3rd parties, which means more resources will be available and more projects will be able to be taken on at once.

It's a move to increase efficiency, not scale back production.

AndyWARbear

#6

AndyWARbear said:

@Ufaowl it means it's cheaper to outsource each individual game for localization to a third party company. Probably for a set price as opposed to paying staff on contract. I would suggest as consumers we will see no ill effects from this. Business decisions like these usually positively impact efficiency.

dizzy_boy

#10

dizzy_boy said:

@CanisWolfred if I remeber right, James wasn't one of the people who are leaving. Besides, it probably would have been mentioned in the article if he was.

JarredBuzzo

#11

JarredBuzzo said:

Unfortunately, contingent work forces are becoming more and more common. It's too bad Nintendo are resorting to this. I feel sorry for those that worked there "permanently" though.

ikki5

#13

ikki5 said:

As I have said on other news sites about this,:

"temporary workers"

meaning, they were not permanent staff to begin with and they knew and went into the job knowing that their jobs would not last long term. So really, these "cuts" were going to happen sooner or later just by the nature of the contract signed. I don't know why it is such a shock that 190 people who only had temporary positions got laid off.

WaLzgiStaff

#14

WaLzgi said:

@Ufaowl Nintendo of Europe had a contract with many different translators. This move seems to steer them towards more permanent (and fewer) translators. This should actually increase in efficiency, and I would think that some jobs would actually be gained in the process (more translators for Nintendo).

@ikki5: At the same time, I don't think those 190 were effectively "laid-off" unless they were fired by the agency. Nintendo just ended the contract with said agency. I think that this was a major mistranslation in the press.

joey302

#15

joey302 said:

This is what happens when you can only get 1 first party retail wii u game out per quarter and 1 vc console game a week on wii u.
And of course dismal 3rd party support...

Sentinator

#17

Sentinator said:

I hope this makes them give a bigger marketing push at Christmas. I am hoping they do more tours like they used to :(

Vrael

#19

Vrael said:

This sucks for those that got laid off. I hope they land on their feet.

DiscoGentleman

#20

DiscoGentleman said:

Just FYI for you all, most companies use temp workers, especially nowadays. And every Japanese company I've worked for so far has used a lot of temp workers. It's sort of a Japanese business practice, it seems.

DiscoGentleman

#21

DiscoGentleman said:

@WaLzgi Yeah, that's exactly what it sounds like to me, too.
My good friend is a full-time translator currently working for NoE (not an agency) and she's seen that sway, too.

Hero-of-WiiU

#22

Hero-of-WiiU said:

WOO MAN! These contractors and agencies words are definently hard to understand. Glad I still have a lot learn in school.

Ralph3

#23

Ralph3 said:

@WaLzgi You are incorrect

<< there will be an ***increase in outsourcing future translation and test activities to third-party companies*** on an as-needed basis, >>

In a nutshell, most game publishers source their European translations from external agencies, which in turn use freelancers working from home.

An Excel spreadsheet with game texts goes from the developers to the agency, then from the agency to the freelancer (which has no access to the game -for safety and practical reasons- and thus has to rely on questions and guesswork) and then all the way back and into the game.

NoE was one of the very few companies to have translators physically in their offices, working directly on the game. Which is more expensive but also allows for a much stronger adaptation.

Those 190 people were full-time employees working exclusively for Nintendo, sometimes for years, which were simply not given a permanent contract in case Nintendo changed their mind about localization.

And that's what has happened now. They simply gave up on the idea of having their own translators (at least for Europe).

TLDR: Nintendo of Europe has fired its in-house localization department in order to use tele-commuting freelancers like everybody else

Artwark

#24

Artwark said:

I wonder why NOE is struggling more than NOA. Isn't Europe doing as well as America?

Sentinator

#25

Sentinator said:

@Artwark Can't say about the rest of Europe but in the UK Wii U isn't doing good. I only see it on shelves at electronics stores. Having said that Wii U isn't the only system I've seen being kicked from the shelves at Tesco, Asda and Morrison's.

3DS is still all over the place though. Most game stores I've been to it has more shelf space than Xbox One.

electrolite77

#27

electrolite77 said:

"I 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"

Satoru Iwata, 2013

Tasuki

#29

Tasuki said:

My thoughts go out to those effected by this I know what its like in this type of situation and its not fun at all.

I hope @James is not one of them.

ECMIM

#31

ECMIM said:

@unrandomsam oh, that's easy: the media makes it look much worse by counting temps and the like in the cuts which is, as you noted, something not normally noted at all, in any business.

joey302

#32

joey302 said:

@WaLzgi you're talking out of your butt. I run a business with 200+ workers my friend..Nintendo profits have been on steady decline since wii u launch beginning with forecasting 9 million units sold which turned out to be less than 3 milion sold thru...STEP 1: - boss takes salary cut (Iwata) & other high up suits take cuts as well!! This means you too Reggie!! STEP 2: lay off unnecessary staff in this case translators why? Why not? What the hell have they localized since Earthbound?? Why carry their salary??
Step 3: shut you're imvestors up any which way you can and keep them smiling!!
Step 4: get some damn games out the door???? Ya think?? The only major title from Nintendo between MK8 & Hyrule Warriors was......Wii sports club??? C'mon man they need to do way better than this especially knowing full well that they're 3rd party retail support has almost completely dried up!!
To add insult to wii u injury the virtual console release pace has been nothing shy of atrocious!! It's absolutely ridiculous and all I read see & read about is how everyone seems to agree!! I could make a list of missing classics on vc that would stretch across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge!!!!
Sorry, I saw these layoffs coming a year ago and I wouldn't be surprised if NOA was next cause their still with their head in their donkey, haven't localized poopoodoodoocacapoopledoople either since earthbound and the only reason they're slapping Nes remix together on a disc, like they did with wii sports club, is because they figure it's a good cheap way to get another game on store shelves quick to fill huge retail release voids & try to achieve some retail presence!! NUFF SAID!!!!

Knuckles

#33

Knuckles said:

@CanisWolfred @James replied to everyone who asked about him in the previous article. As of that post, he still has his job.
Also you asked me a while ago why I thought AA Trilogy would be 20, not 30 dollars, I thought that because I thought I heard/read during E3 the price would be $20.

WaLzgiStaff

#34

WaLzgi said:

@joey302 Yeah, the 9 million forecast...that's a bit outdated. Step 1: What does Reggie have to do with this? This is Europe. Step 2: Nevermind, I misread the quote. From what I hear, restructuring always lay off people. What have they localized since Earthbound? Every game that came after since the 90s...
Step 3: Investors are mostly pleased with Iwata since he's still CEO.
Step 4: They are making games. Last I checked Hyrule Warriors and Smash are coming. And the 3DS is getting some games too. Oh wait, are they supposed to become big enough to make 1 big game a month? Can you name a single company that can do this? I can't think of any...
I can't say much about the Virtual Console since it doesn't have much. Though we don't exactly know how much money the VC makes and whether or not it would be enough to pay those employees.
You saw this coming? This layoff is actually pretty tame compared to what other companies do. Compare Nintendo to other companies and THEN tell me about how horrible Nintendo is. Localization? Last I checked the Treehouse has localized quite a few games since Earthbound. I am quite confused as to why you chose Earthbound in your argument, especially since Fantasy Life is about to be released in the States. You make that NES Remix statement like it's supposed to be bad. What else would you like them to do? Pump out a new retail game each month? Again, tell me how many companies actually do this...on TWO systems? Before you accuse me of talking out of my rear, you might want to reconsider your own argument.

WaLzgiStaff

#35

WaLzgi said:

@Ralph3 Ah I see. The wording was a bit confusing, but I do wonder what it meant by "temporary agency workers". Did the 190 people really work for Nintendo directly, or were they contracted outsourced workers?

Ralph3

#36

Ralph3 said:

They were full-time in-house staff who were never given the option of a stable contract.

"NOE uses a temp agency for its employees, but that is mainly to bypass German work law and be able to lay off people without any notice. "
http://kotaku.com/i-worked-at-noe-localization-for-2-years-i-know-a-lot-1628643725

"We didn't volunteer to be leasing staff, we were never given another option"
"Many of my colleagues had been working there for 5 years or more on "temporary" contracts. I was there for 2.5."
http://kotaku.com/i-am-one-of-the-190-leasing-staff-being-released-and-n-1628775935

joey302

#37

joey302 said:

@WaLzgi I don't think 1 major retail release a month is too much to ask for. They are a huge company with billions and much resources and need to step it up a bit in light of the bad 3rd party situation.
Perhaps it's true the NOE been localizing since the 90's but I always read that duty was shared with the US. If not then I stand corrected. But it's probably safe to say that NOA at least on wii u hasn't localized anything since earthbound....for the record I'm a tremendous wii u fan and every Nintendo system before it. Just wanna see it succeed is all. :-)

Artwark

#40

Artwark said:

@Octane Ghee I'm soo sorry about that. :P

Seriously though, I feel bad for those employees. Hope things turn out well for them soon......

Octane

#41

Octane said:

@Artwark 190 of them were agency workers, they'll get another job reassigned to them. It's only the 130 that had to be fired because of the merging.

CaviarMeths

#42

CaviarMeths said:

@joey302 Bang on, man. NoE is merging two offices because the Japanese company isn't make a game per month. Hit the nail on the head.

electrolite77

#44

electrolite77 said:

@WaLzgi

Why do you keep comparing Nintendo to other companies? Because other firms lay off staff doesn't excuse Nintendo doing it. Other companies dont have to try and produce a game a month because they have third party support.

Oh sorry I forgot the Nintendo Life M.O. which is to try and deflect any criticism of Nintendo, however valid, and even if its by the lamest of methods I.e. comparing them to other companies.

PLATINUM7

#47

PLATINUM7 said:

@joey302
Having billions of dollars doesn't necessarily make it feasible to produce a big retail game each month. Major releases take time, some times years and with big development teams.

Anyway I hope all the people who lost their job find luck in the future and aren't out of a job for too long.

joey302

#48

joey302 said:

@CaviarMeths thank you!! There's no reason why they can't arrive at that rhythm of 1 game retail per month by say next year. I know it's 25 years ago but sega was releasing from 2 - 5 Genesis games a month until the third party games finally kicked in.
How? By reaching out to other studios and increasing Sega's American staff along side Japanese production etc!
Why? Because they knew they only had 10% of the market and that 10% was shared with Atari who by 1989 was only a shadow of its former self! Also because they knew Nintendo had almost all third party locked up so they no choice & stepped up production...made sense then & would make sense now...

WaLzgiStaff

#50

WaLzgi said:

@joey302 And they also have so many development studios, so yes that's too much to ask for. Do you really want half-donkeyed rushed games just to meet some quota of quantity? Keep in mind that they need to develop for the 3DS as well, so that's essentially more than 18-24 games a year. Even EA couldn't do that. Also keep in mind that there's a major difference in development now than there was in the 90s with Sega. Development teams are much larger today, and Sega was able to produce games in quantity because of smaller teams. Think about this: Super Mario Bros only took less than 10 people to make it, and Super Mario 3D World took over 100 people. That's a major difference. And at the time Sega didn't have two systems to support either, so no, it's still not feasible for Nintendo to produce a major game per month.

@electrolite77 Your accusation of deflection is purely conjecture. I am comparing Nintendo to other companies like Capcom because they are in similar situations. Companies like Capcom and EA flat out shut down studios...even if they succeeded, whereas Nintendo seems to only resort to lay-offs if it's more of a last resort. Nintendo of Europe is restructuring and moving its headquarters, so lay-offs are expected. However, the criticism here seems to include exaggerations and false statements, so I WILL deflect those.

electrolite77

#51

electrolite77 said:

@Tobias95

Inspiring stuff. Those developers will have been responsible for two Wii U games this year. That's entirely made up for all the other developers that don't support Nintendo (though to be fair that's about a third of Nintendo's output this year)

stanleecroup

#53

stanleecroup said:

@ikki5 some times full time work is not available and people have to take temporary contracts to earn a living. Temporary work with no contracts is on the rise in many areas of employment especially zero hour contracts. This is not good for the working population. The only winners here are the companies who can drive down their labour costs to increase their profit margins. Its sad that people who have been loyal to companies get treates like this.

stanleecroup

#55

stanleecroup said:

@Blue-Thunder I do actually care that people have lost their jobs. When times are difficult for companies they just get rid of the low ranking staff to ensure their own future. This is unacceptable.

Sceptic

#56

Sceptic said:

@Blue-Thunder: It's Nintendo. Even when they lie (and keep lying) people here find a positive spin for it.

They didn't really lay anybody off you see, they just told them not to come to work anymore.

People don't realize that that's how the low end job market works. UPS could shut down tomorrow and would only have to lay off a handful of people. Their couriers are all 'agency workers'. Obviously Nintendo works the same way. It allows you to lay off large numbers of people without worrying about those pesky employee protection laws. Great stuff.

andrea987

#57

andrea987 said:

@Sceptic "Obviously" not. 130 were permanent staff, without counting those NOT being laid off.
Sometime being 'Sceptic' makes you blind to the simple truths ;-)

andrea987

#58

andrea987 said:

@Blue-Thunder I see many comments of people who care, we just can't do much, most of us. We live in an economy where companies sometime are forced to do this to survive, sad but true. If they didn't survive ALL of the employees would lose their jobs.
I hope everyone will find something to do, all the best guys.

andrea987

#60

andrea987 said:

@joey302 I agree they need to outsource games more, to compensate for the lack of third party. The problem is that good HD development costs time and money, you can't compare Genesis game development to WiiU. Or even 3DS.

joey302

#61

joey302 said:

@WaLzgi uh....Sega was supporting Master System right into game gear during the Genesis era. That's 2 systems at once. And then Sega CD. Then supported Genesis, sega CD, & game gear going into the Saturn launch!! C'mon man!
Sorry you can't give Nintendo a pass here.
Iwata even admitted that they underestimated the length & involvement of HD development and I feel that backed them up big time and they still haven't recovered yet...E3 however, showed signs of slight improvement but there are still franchises they haven't touched in years! F zero and Metroid just to name 2!?!?
And again don't even bring up virtual console...terrible terrible!! They've lost touch of what classics are with very few exceptions!

WaLzgiStaff

#62

WaLzgi said:

@joey302 Did they release multiple new games every month all at once for every system? And did you just ignore my point that development teams are larger this time and age?

joey302

#63

joey302 said:

And Damn it!! Vc games should be flooding the eshop by now!!!
Super Mario 64, Luigis mansion, eternal darkness, asteroids, centipede, paperboy, gauntlet, nights into dreams, outrun, super cobra, frenzy, defender, joust, 1942, toobin, 1943, commando, sonic hedgehog series,
Toe jam n earl 1&2, house of the dead 1-4, virtua fighter series, sega rally, virtua cop, stampede, pitfall, tempest, marble madness, Missle command, megamania, streets of rage series, clockwork knight 1&2, golden axe series, phantasy star series, shining force series, turbo, carnival, popeye, frogger, scramble, yars revenge, haunted house, robotron 2084, smash tv, total carnage, xybots, cyber ball, rampage, primal rage, mortal kombat 1-4, Congo bongo, space invaders, operation wolf, bubble bobble, rainbow islands, jungle hunt, warlords, arkanoid , crazy taxi, millipede , and virtua racing!!! NOW THESE ARE CLASSICS!!
Did I miss anything? Damn straight I did!! A ton!!

joey302

#64

joey302 said:

@WaLzgi yes they did especially for the Genesis. The output was incredible between sega japan, sega America, and other outside teams in japan & the states that created these Genesis games but didn't have the $$$ to publish them!
Yes of course I realize again that development teams are larger- been following the industry closely since my Atari 2600 & Bally astrocade purchases in the 70s when one guy did it all!! ....there's this thing called out sourcing or subcontracting tho!! Or know what?? Hire more staff and assemble more teams?? Nintendo needs to explore that more and I don't care what anybody says they have the $$ to do so. Sorry Can't convince me otherwise. I think sometimes they're just a cheap company!
They had sega do F zero for them on the GameCube so why not now?? Get creative and find ways to pick up their out put! Especially when you know wii u isn't on fire right now (but slowly improving) and knowing that with 3rd party retail support all you can hear is crickets!! And to pick up the pace with virtual console as well!! Simple...

joey302

#65

joey302 said:

@andrea987 good HD does cost more of course...but sony and Microsoft been doing hd since 06 and 05 respectively. Nintendo skipped it with Wii ok fine but no excuse!! They should've been ready for HD on Wii U no? They need to make moves Is all.

ogo79

#66

ogo79 said:

@joey302
"And don't get me started on virtual console boys!!"
what does the freaking virtual console have to do with people losing their jobs at nintendo?

joey302

#67

joey302 said:

@ogo79 it's a small part of the whole Nintendo situation/picture that is partially responsible for those people losing their jobs IMO. It all ties in...

Sceptic

#68

Sceptic said:

@andrea987: Obviously you misread what number I was referring to. I was referring to those 190 so-called "agency workers" that were being "released" (From their agency. Makes sense, right?).

joey302

#70

joey302 said:

@WinterWarm can't help it bro! My passion for this hobby is great! With the wii u I see lost after lost opportunity and I just get sooo mad at Nintendo for not seeing certain things that we fans do see...you can spend another couple hours just discussing cross buy (or lack of it).
I refuse to download ANY vc classics that I have on wii or wii u that I have to pay for again just to have on my 3ds! And the Shame of it is that there's quite a few vc games I wouldn't mind having on my 3ds!
But I will stand my ground till they fix that!

electrolite77

#71

electrolite77 said:

@Sceptic

" It's Nintendo. Even when they lie (and keep lying) people here find a positive spin for it."

Perfect summary. It's the Nintendo Life way. Doesn't matter how much Nintendo try and screw fans over, doesn't matter how lazy they are release-wise, or how many people they fire there will be someone trying to defend Nintendo. It's like some people live in a fantasy land where Nintendo aren't an aggressive, cost-cutting, capitalist business

andrea987

#73

andrea987 said:

@Sceptic No, you were talking about Nintendo business behaviour. I don't know about UPS, but 130 staff (plus those still employed) doesn't seem like "a handful".
Also, where did they say they didn't lay off people, exactly? The whole article is about Nintendo announcing they did that, even mentioning the agency workers. Just chill, man, that's all.

andrea987

#74

andrea987 said:

@electrolite77 I don't think many people here are convinced Nintendo is the exception to the business world or that are perfect in every way. I'm mad at them for not doing enough, in my view, to push the WiiU, particularly with founding 3rd party releases (at least the main multiplatforms), which should be top priority (again, imo), together with first party development. But you might have much bigger issues with them, or you might give too much importance to this hobby of ours. Which I've been practicing for more than 30yrs, btw.

andrea987

#76

andrea987 said:

@GreatPlayer lol, that was not a very wise comment from Iwata-san. Still, in the past they did everything they could to keep investors happy wthout laying off people (paycuts, etc). It seems situation now got worse, at least for NoE.

GreatPlayer

#77

GreatPlayer said:

@andrea987 There are two lies in this world:
"We never fire people." (Fact: "Every company fires")
"We never fire people." (Fact: They secretly stage a layoff.)

It is unknown which company Nintendo belongs to, as the company was renowned for developing a monopoly and forced developers to sign contracts that prohibited them to develop games for Sega (Mega Drive) and NEC (PC Engine).

WaLzgiStaff

#81

WaLzgi said:

@joey302 Well I did some digging on Sega and the whole five system thing just confused me. That seemed like a bad business decision actually...

Anyway, think about this: game development can take 1-3 years. You need to support 2 systems at once. Imagine that average Wii U development takes 2 years. Doing the math, you need about 24 studios working on a Wii U or 3DS game at once, which is too costly and risky for Nintendo.

So basically you are implying that you want Nintendo to spend a lot of money, possibly leading to even more layoffs?

joey302

#83

joey302 said:

@WaLzgi not at all man. Sega spread themselves too thin...big sega fan here - but Nintendo only 2 systems to support & should be manageable at best considering their experience n size n cash...amiibo line will help. And I'm sorry to ever see anyone lose their job but that has nothing to do with what Nintendo's focus should be....which is wii u games!

WaLzgiStaff

#85

WaLzgi said:

@joey302 With the upcoming release schedule just released in America, I think they are fine with the Wii U line-up

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