Reggie Fils-Aimé responds to allegations about working conditions at Nintendo of America

Nintendo of America has always been an image-conscious company, but for the past few weeks, testimonials from former employees have clouded the idyllic picture we’ve had of it. As Reggie Fils-Aimé promotes his new book in full, we were able to glean some information about his feelings regarding the situation.

Photo credit: Nintendo

It’s never someone else’s fault

Several media outlets, such as Kotaku, have highlighted the story of former or recent service providers pointing the finger at the working conditions introduced by Nintendo of America. This follows a complaint from a former contractor accusing the company of various things, including preventing employees from uniting.

Nintendo of America’s contract system, which employs several hundred service providers from customer service to testers and thus encompasses several departments of the company, has been criticized in particular. This provider status would be maintained indefinitely by requiring employees to take two months’ vacation between each contract renewal. But again, according to the testimonies, contract workers do exactly the same work as permanent employees. So we’re teetering on the long-term possibility of being hired by Nintendo of America, but the famous sesame never arrives.

This system then creates a two-tier social hierarchy in which contract employees are underpaid and receive few benefits, while suffering from a lack of respect from certain employees who are on permanent contracts in society. In addition to the pressure some people may feel, they lack stability and perspective in their work.

So it made sense to ask Reggie Fils-Aimé, former president of Nintendo of America, how the company treats its employees. And that’s what the Washington Post did in an interview promoting his book:

I know I’ve managed to create a healthy company culture, and what’s being described here certainly doesn’t sound like a healthy culture.

He also adds:

Reading the stories and reviews made me realize that this is not the Nintendo I left.

He also clarified that between 2006 and 2019, when he was head of Nintendo of America, he held regular lunches with his employees for which contractors were free to sign up and attend. According to Kotaku and information from a former vendor, these lunches were known, but he had never heard that participation was possible. He and other contract employees didn’t even have the required credentials to enter the Nintendo of America headquarters building.

In another interview, this time granted to IGN, Reggie Fils-Aimé reiterates that this is not the corporate culture that he has established at Nintendo of America.

Hiring some of the best contract workers in the industry has always been a positive part of our culture. This split between contract employees and full-time employees – all I can say is that it’s not at all the culture I left behind when I retired from Nintendo.

Reggie Fils-Aimé is currently on a press tour to promote his book Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo. However, as Kotaku reports, he no longer gives interviews about working conditions at Nintendo of America. We must therefore wait for an official statement from American society.

ALSO READ: Reggie Fils Aimé has been prestigiously inducted into the Video Games Hall of Fame

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