Despite what Nintendo is going through right now, and despite all the challenges they’re facing in the future, you can’t argue against their corporate culture. We can criticize Nintendo president Satoru Iwata for completely mishandling the Wii U launch and subsequent post-launch strategy, but we can’t say that he’s a greedy businessman who’s only interested in profits.
Over the past few years, Nintendo stock has nosedived and the company recorded its first ever loss as a publicly traded company. Iwata took a pay cut and promised to turn things around. But not by firing employees.
According to Iwata’s philosophy, if you fire employees, the remaining ones will work with a cloud over their head, constantly thinking whether they’re next. And under those conditions, Iwata says, it’s impossible to make great games. Iwata said during a recent investor’s meeting:
“If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, 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.”
He added that in the long run, cutting employees was a bad thing, and that instead, Nintendo is focusing on cutting costs elsewhere and increasing efficiency.
If Nintendo was an American (or European) company, it would have seen several rounds of layoffs over the past few years in order to get back to profitability.