At Nintendo of America, Temporary Employees’ Blues – News

In a lengthy study published this week on IGN, Kat Bailey gives us a rare glimpse behind the scenes at Nintendo of America and more precisely at the dichotomy between full-time employees, who can be seen frolicking on the ultra-modern campus of Redmond, and temporary employees. workers working in an older neighboring building under less favorable conditions.

Second-class citizens“, this is how the temps interviewed by IGN view themselves. The lack of consideration for these contractors, as they are known in the United States, is a more and more common topic in the video game industry and far beyond. Activision has also made headlines lately (for good this time) by announcing the conversion of 1,000 temporary contracts to full-time positions, which not only means a better salary, but also a real sense of belonging to the company and the prospect of being able to progress in it.

More flexible and cheaper than employees, temporary employees are also legion at Nintendo of America. Lonely workers are given a blue sign that does not give them access to the company headquarters or even the nearby football field, facilities that are only available to “real” Nintendo employees, those with the coveted red sign. IGN’s study highlights the contrast between the image that Nintendo likes to project through marketing that is as gratifying as it is controlled, and a less welcoming reality for workers who are not so fortunate to be on the safe 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 staff turnover of 4.7%, which is significantly lower than that of other technology companies, an industry whose average is close to 13%. Even today, at Nintendo of America you can find a certain number of people who have known the time of the NES.

Among temps, on the other hand, there is a surprisingly tight, formal and bureaucratic work culture, where workers flatly apologize if they have to leave 15 minutes ahead of time. Temporary staff explain that they have to account for almost every minute of their day on an attendance schedule, and it is on the background of paranoia that some say they are afraid to leave their workstation for a few minutes to walk on the toilet, for fear that Microsoft Teams will not mark them as inactive.

Kat Bailey could only measure the contrast between these testimonies and “sometimes overwhelming positivity“Full-time employees who are constantly talking about how lucky they are to be at Nintendo, especially in areas like marketing and localization. Cracked on April 15 when the Axios page revealed the complaint filed with National Labor Relations Board. This claims that Nintendo of America and the recruitment company Aston Carter engaged in “coordinated activities“and train”coercive measures“against a worker in his efforts to organize, which has given testimony from former Nintendo partners who do not have fond memories of their experience.

IGN’s study adds an article by Kotaku which already highlighted the unfavorable treatment that Nintendo of America gave subcontractors. In this report, former temps talked about being discouraged from using facilities like Café Mario or about strict attendance times, which among other restrictions could lead to them being fired if they missed three days of work. Entrepreneurs are excluded from everything, including corporate holiday parties (unless invited by a full-time employee) and other activities that are just red badges. Morale is all the less good as the chances of being hired full time have proven to be particularly low for a number of years.

Nintendo is a very large, complicated and secretive company. And that’s the root of the problem. Every entrepreneur starts with the hope of becoming a regular employee, and very, very, very few people succeed.“, testifies one of Nintendo’s former collaborators to IGN. According to the observations of the investigation, employees felt a change in Nintendo’s culture around 2015, a relatively dark period for a manufacturer plagued by doubts after the Wii’s failure U and the death of the late CEO Satoru Iwata Five years ago, carried by the Wii / DS generation, Nintendo was in sparkling shape at the inauguration of its brand new campus in Redmond.

From 2015, the chances of being promoted full-time have largely dried up, and new hires have not been legion in certain areas, where the needs have nevertheless increased sharply in recent years, such as writers and editors. Like many other companies, Nintendo preferred to rely on temporary partners for issues of money and flexibility, which is not without complicating the progress of certain operations. By comparison, all employees of The Pokémon Company localization department would be full-time employees.

As IGN reminds us, citing articles from CNBC and the New York Times, the exploitation of Nintendo of America temps is not an unusual case in the technology sector. Some experiences are nonetheless uplifting to read, as for Jenn, who was once blamed for her “participation problems” because she was forced to return home in the middle of the interview process due to her sister’s death.

Like many others, Jenn gave up a full-time job after 10 years at Nintendo, and only realized much later how bad her situation was. “We loved working there, we were just so taken advantage of. We were not really aware of it before we left … At Nintendo, I was driven by passion and love for the product, and they know there is always a queue of people who want to do exactly the same thing with dog food. And that’s the sad thing. They know that if you complain, they can let you go and hire the next Jenn. I did not know I was on the planet of death until I left it“, She sums up.

If Nintendo did not want to comment on the investigation into IGN, the site received a response from Reggie Fils-Aimé, a former major figure of Nintendo of America, who was just passing by to promote the release of his book. No wonder, Regginator rejects any responsibility in the portrait today painted by his former firm. “At this point, I withdrew from Nintendo of America three years ago and cannot comment on what is happening in 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 corporate culture. I read the same stories about this division between contract employees and full-time employees. All I can say is that this is not at all the culture I left behind when I retired from NintendoCommented, whose body is always ready.

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