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Posted (edited)

Very unusual for IGN to actually do some actual journalism indeed!

That being said though? There's nothing here that is particularily surprising or unusual for how contract workers are being treated; this is unfortunately the norm, not just across the video game industry, but for contract workers in general.  This is doubly true in America, where labour laws are about 50 years behind Europe.

NOA's ability to change things is most likely limited by the legal distinction between internal staff and contract workers (since these contractors are technically not NOA employees, they can't legally be given the same benefits as internal staff).  To fix this, they'd have to stop hiring contractors and open up more full-time positions; but then you'd have to deal with the don't-headhunt clauses that are almost certainly hiding in every contract agency's contract...

Edited by Dcubed
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I mean, it's apparently standard for large corps and it's obviously horrible and something has to change, but I do wonder: have people actually thought that Nintendo isn't a capitalist corporation driven by profit/money and plagued by issues like this?

Just because they make bright and colorful games doesn't mean they are the same on a corporate level :p 

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, drahkon said:

I mean, it's apparently standard for large corps and it's obviously horrible and something has to change, but I do wonder: have people actually thought that Nintendo isn't a capitalist corporation driven by profit/money and plagued by issues like this?

Just because they make bright and colorful games doesn't mean they are the same on a corporate level :p 

I'm pretty sure that a lot of the forum dwellers on places like Reset Era have literally never worked a day in their lives.  The amount of people who are left utterly incredulous every time the smallest "scandal" pops up, and then suggest things that are literally logistically and legally impossible leave me wondering if they've ever stepped foot inside an office or other workplace.  There's a lot of "hippie" types out there on these forums...

That's not to say that real labour force scandals aren't out there (The ABK stuff is absolutely devestating, and certainly not the norm, even within the video game industry; which is especially bad even amongst the US Tech sector, which is already notorious for its misogyny), but stuff like this contractor "scandal"? This stuff is absolutely pedestrian for a US company.

Edited by Dcubed

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22 minutes ago, drahkon said:

I mean, it's apparently standard for large corps and it's obviously horrible and something has to change, but I do wonder: have people actually thought that Nintendo isn't a capitalist corporation driven by profit/money and plagued by issues like this?

Just because they make bright and colorful games doesn't mean they are the same on a corporate level :p 

I think that's the thing. Unlike a lot of places, Nintendo give off the image of being family friendly and they do well to put that image front and centre but, as you said, they are clearly like the rest of them.

More and more of these stories seem to be cropping up now from within the industry. From exploitative companies, to discrimination scandals, the industry, like many others, seems to be rotten to the core. 

I say we burn the world and start fresh. 

only-way.gif

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Just now, Dcubed said:

 This stuff is absolutely pedestrian for a US company.

Doesn't make it right though. How can any kind of meaningful change happen without such things being brought into light and discussed?

It's similar over here in the UK, where you hear things like zero hour contract and agency staff being treated poorly and messed about. Because they never get proper contracts they are seen as lesser workers and disposable. It's a horrible practice.

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2 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

Doesn't make it right though. How can any kind of meaningful change happen without such things being brought into light and discussed?

It's similar over here in the UK, where you hear things like zero hour contract and agency staff being treated poorly and messed about. Because they never get proper contracts they are seen as lesser workers and disposable. It's a horrible practice.

Oh no, it IS absolutely awful.  Agency workers are treated like dirt, especially in the US, where they get no access to health insurance and other essential benefits; since the US social & health system is literal garbage.

But this is also absolutely standard for agency workers; and it's something that most people complaining about this "scandal" have no clue about.  It's a wider social problem, not something unique to Nintendo, or even the video game industry (though the VG industry is particularily bad with this).

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1 hour ago, Dcubed said:

Very unusual for IGN to actually do some actual journalism indeed!

It's something I've noticed them doing a lot more over the last 12 months or so, I imagine a conscious choice they made when they brought Rebekah Valentine back over from gamesindustry.biz last year. Her and Kat Bailey have been doing a solid job with some of their investigative pieces, and I'm glad that it takes a little power away from Schreier (said it before, but while I love that he sheds the light on so many issues in the industry with his investigative journalism, the trade-off is that he loves to leak things which I don't think he should be - being at IGN, Rebekah and Kat can't really do that). 

43 minutes ago, drahkon said:

Just because they make bright and colorful games doesn't mean they are the same on a corporate level :p 

Absolutely. Everyone loves to point out that Nintendo is basically the Disney of video games, and look just how many skeletons Disney has in their closet. 

I think one of the reasons that we hear so little about Nintendo's issues compared to other corners of the industry is simply because the power in their organisation is centralised in Japan, which we have no real eyes on in the west, and is a country which has a very different set of employee values to the west to begin with. Heck, they're probably a weird company by Japanese standards, what with them being headquartered in Kyoto rather than Tokyo. 

17 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

More and more of these stories seem to be cropping up now from within the industry. From exploitative companies, to discrimination scandals, the industry, like many others, seems to be rotten to the core. 

It's incredibly disheartening for anyone with a passion for games, especially because, for me at least, it creates a weird guilt when picking up a game sometimes; it feels more like I'm picking my poison and which company with terrible values to support. We've talked about this before, but the onus shouldn't be on the consumer to vote with their wallet, a lot of these issues simply shouldn't exist to begin with. 

Video games is the one of the largest industries in entertainment (I think behind only TV, maybe gambling too?), it's had - and is having - tremendous growth, and yet some of these massive companies are squeezing every drop of blood, sweat and tears from their employees, despite the fact that there's currently a talent vacuum in the industry at the top level. There simply aren't enough people coming into the industry for them to grow exponentially, and their solution is that they drive their workers to the edge? I know we've all heard the stories of the old guard being replaced by the new in games before (because they'll do more, and for less!), and it's a very stressful industry to be in to begin with, but maybe don't be stupid with how you treat employees when their other job offers are going to be software engineering at Big Tech for a lot more dough. 

::shrug:

32 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I say we burn the world and start fresh. 

only-way.gif

Honestly, at this point I'm not sure what it will take. Unions would be a step in the right direction, but it seems it would be very difficult to implement, and it feels like we're past the point where a union is the most effective solution. 

So yeah, torch it :p

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47 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I say we burn the world and start fresh. 

Looking at climate change and the wars raging, we're well on track to burning it down. :p 

 

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55 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

I'm pretty sure that a lot of the forum dwellers on places like Reset Era have literally never worked a day in their lives.  The amount of people who are left utterly incredulous every time the smallest "scandal" pops up, and then suggest things that are literally logistically and legally impossible leave me wondering if they've ever stepped foot inside an office or other workplace.  There's a lot of "hippie" types out there on these forums...

Absolutely this ^.

This is one of the tamest "scandal" pieces I've probably ever read about the games industry, but of course some people are losing their minds over there.

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My take on the whole thing; while none of the practices are 'novel' and are pretty common (particularly in the anti-employee 'land of the free') there is still some valid criticism to be made about how they are treating people and I think it's right to raise that. They do benefit and suffer from the Disney effect of being seen as a family brand so "it must be a good company to work for!" (spoiler alert: Disney can also be a bad company to work for) so perhaps the bar for "scandal" is lower than some of their competitors but it is right to call out shitty practices, even if they are legally allowed.

It also just seems like bad business sense to have a bunch of contractors who clearly want to work for you full-time and would be passionate about working for you and just keeping them at arm's length (or worse). 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Ashley said:

It also just seems like bad business sense to have a bunch of contractors who clearly want to work for you full-time and would be passionate about working for you and just keeping them at arm's length (or worse). 

If there is a non-compete "don't headhunt" clause in their contracts (which there absolutely will be), there's nothing that NOA can do about that.  Legally, they can't poach the staff from these agencies unless their employees quit the agency, wait out a specified period of time (be it 1 year or 2 years or whatever) and then move into a job position that NOA would keep open for that entire 1-2 year period unfilled.  That's not really logistically possible for either NOA or contract employee.

Headhunting is a huge thing within the video game industry, which is why gaming companies go out of their way to block it wherever possible.  Nintendo also happen to be very good at it, having poached almost all of Squaresoft's old staff, the entierty of Hudson, much of Konami's old staff etc... but there's only so far they can go.  A particularily famous example is with Dylan Cuthbert, who joined Sony after quitting Argonaut because Argonaut's co-development contract with Nintendo specifically prevented him from being headhunted by Nintendo; while Dylan wanted to stay working in Japan.

Hell, the issue of headhunting is the reason why the VG industry refused to consistently credit their staff all the way from the 70s to the mid-late 90s; to prevent their talent from becoming known and from getting headhunted by rivals.

Edited by Dcubed

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33 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

If there is a non-compete "don't headhunt" clause in their contracts (which there absolutely will be), there's nothing that NOA can do about that.  Legally, they can't poach the staff from these agencies unless their employees quit the agency, wait out a specified period of time (be it 1 year or 2 years or whatever) and then move into a job position that NOA would keep open for that entire 1-2 year period unfilled.  That's not really logistically possible for either NOA or contract employee.

Headhunting is a huge thing within the video game industry, which is why gaming companies go out of their way to block it wherever possible.  Nintendo also happen to be very good at it, having poached almost all of Squaresoft's old staff, the entierty of Hudson, much of Konami's old staff etc... but there's only so far they can go.  A particularily famous example is with Dylan Cuthbert, who joined Sony after quitting Argonaut because Argonaut's co-development contract with Nintendo specifically prevented him from being headhunted by Nintendo; while Dylan wanted to stay working in Japan.

Hell, the issue of headhunting is the reason why the VG industry refused to consistently credit their staff all the way from the 70s to the mid-late 90s; to prevent their talent from becoming known and from getting headhunted by rivals.

All that is predicated on an "if" which a few words later you decide is an "is". And do we really think there will be a non-compete clause a) for contractors (as opposed to full-time staff) and for b) people doing customer service. Plus arguably (and this is getting semantic) you're not going to a competitor. You're going to the same company, just through a different mechanism. I guess the only people that do know for certain if that clause exists are the people that signed/wrote the contracts and there's no mention of it in the article so I don't think we can say "there absolutely will be". 

There might be reasons why they don't hire them, including legal contractual stuff. But there's no legal contractual reason to treat them as second class citizens. Based on what people have said in that article it's not that its written into the contract/agreement and if it is that's not being made clear to the people that are affected.

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18 minutes ago, Ashley said:

All that is predicated on an "if" which a few words later you decide is an "is". And do we really think there will be a non-compete clause a) for contractors (as opposed to full-time staff) and for b) people doing customer service. Plus arguably (and this is getting semantic) you're not going to a competitor. You're going to the same company, just through a different mechanism. I guess the only people that do know for certain if that clause exists are the people that signed/wrote the contracts and there's no mention of it in the article so I don't think we can say "there absolutely will be".

These are people in customer service and testing positions.  I can absolutely guarantee you that for at least the testing positions, there will be an anti-compete clause that will prevent headhunting.  It’s standard in the industry; and virtually any contract tech-related job (especially in the US), will have something similar in place.  If it weren’t, QA Agencies wouldn’t even be able to function, as they’d just get their talent stolen from them by their clients.

It will also be done to prevent potential trade secret leaks, particularly within customer service roles that may have access to business sensitive confidential information; such as sales figures and product/repairs margins.

18 minutes ago, Ashley said:

There might be reasons why they don't hire them, including legal contractual stuff. But there's no legal contractual reason to treat them as second class citizens. Based on what people have said in that article it's not that its written into the contract/agreement and if it is that's not being made clear to the people that are affected.

These complaints are largely centred around not having access to the same benefits as full-time employees, which is kind of… well… no shit Sherlock territory really when it comes to the notion of “scandal”.  NOA (or any other US company) legally can’t extend the same employee benefits to people who are technically not NOA employees.  That’s why it’s an issue with agency/contract work in general; it’s up to the Agency in question to provide their own suite of worker benefits for their employees.

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But again that's all built on the assumption they'd be going elsewhere - the "compete" part implies competitor - which may not apply if you're contracted somewhere and then join that place. 

I'm not saying it's impossible but neither of us know for sure so it's all speculative

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As a quick aside to lighten the mood, just spotted the below, the most ResetEra thread I've ever seen :laughing:

forum.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Nintendo's earnings report for Q4 FY 2022 covering the period of 1st January 2022 - 31st March 2022 has dropped, and it's my favourite time of the fiscal year (is that a thing?), as it's the end of the fiscal year and the annual report!

The Big Takeaways

  • 4.11 million hardware units sold for this quarter between the Switch, Switch Lite, and the Switch OLED, bringing the total number of Switch consoles sold to 23.06 million units for the fiscal year (1st April 2021 - 31st March 2022), and bringing the total lifetime sales of the Switch to 107.65 million. It is the second year in a row that the Switch has surpassed 20 million hardware units sold for a fiscal year (achieving 28.83 million units sold in the fiscal year ending 31st March 2021), and marks the second-highest sell-through within a fiscal year for the Switch. This all means that the console just about surpassed the twice reduced sales projections for the year, which at the end of last quarter was put down as being 23 million units sold by Nintendo. 
  • Nintendo are projecting console sales of 21 million units over the next fiscal year due to end 31st March 2023, which if achieved, would bring the Switch's lifetime sales to 128 million hardware units, and if it does so, it will be tracking to likely surpass both the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 by the end of the fiscal year ending 31st March 2025. However, to achieve this, it needs to overcome an obstacle it has come across multiple times over the last two years, which is the components shortage; don't be surprised if we hear this initial projection get lowered once or twice over the next twelve months. 
  • Total software sales for the year are 235.06 million units sold, bringing the total to 822.18 million software units sold in the Switch's lifetime, a growth from last year's 230.9 million units sold in the FY ending 31st March 2021. As of this date there are now a total of 39 titles which are million-sellers, 26 of these being from Nintendo, and 13 others by third party publishers. 
  • Nothing has changed in terms of the Switch's position in comparison to the best-selling consoles of all-time: it is still fifth, and within the next fiscal year should successfully chase down the PS4 (117.2 million units sold as of today's fiscal year report from Sony) and Game Boy/Game Boy Colour (118.69 million units sold) to take third. 
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land enjoyed shipping 2.65 million units this quarter, with a sell-through of 2.10 million units, a solid debut considering that it released less than a week before the end of the fiscal year on 25th March. 
  • Somewhat surprisingly, Pokémon Legends: Arceus does not instantly leap onto the Top 10 best-selling Switch titles, having sold a still stupidly impressive 12.64 million units since its release on 28th January, which is a feat Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl managed to do within its debut quarter (13.97 million units in roughly six weeks in Q3, now standing at a total of 14.65 million units sold, vs the approx. eights weeks of Legends: Arceus between its debut and end of the quarter). This can probably be explained by Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl debuting in the holiday quarter, however. 
  • Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl are now the best-selling Pokémon remakes to date, having just edged out the Let's Go titles this past quarter. 
  • As expected at the end of last quarter, Metroid Dread has now clinched the title of best-selling Metroid game with 2.90 million units sold (the previous best-selling was Metroid Prime at 2.84 million units sold). 

Top 10 Best-selling Switch titles as of 31st March 2022

  1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - 45.33 million
  2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 38.64 million
  3. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - 28.17 million
  4.  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 26.55 million
  5. Pokémon Sword/Pokémon Shield - 24.27 million
  6. Super Mario Odyssey - 23.50 million
  7. Super Mario Party - 17.78 million
  8. Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Pokémon Shining Pearl - 14.65 million
  9. Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu!/Pokémon Let's Go Eevee!  - 14.53 million
  10. Ring Fit Adventure - 14.09 million
Edited by Julius
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Good news about Metroid selling 3 million, great game fully deserved.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting to see that Legends Arceus failed to match BDSP, and likely won’t sell as well overall (especially as Gen 9 cuts off its legs).  That’s actually pretty disappointing, especially considering the fact that BDSP is a remake and would’ve also have been much more expensive to make…

Luigi’s Mansion 3’s legs are just insane though, and Metroid Dread is a huge success! Great to see! :D
 

Mario Party Superstars should also comfortably become the second best selling game in the series (behind just Super Mario Party).  Nice to see talent being recognised :)

Edited by Dcubed

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Posted (edited)

Here we go again...

itsfinallyhappening?.gif

Edited by Julius

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1 hour ago, MindFreak said:

OLED Lite. 

Honestly the only realistic possibility. Given the semi conductor shortage is likely to stretch into 2024, Nintendo wouldn't be able to produce a more powerful Pro model in any sort of numbers. 

In reference to the sales numbers, BOTW shipped over 4m for the FY so it could easily surpass 30 million by the time BOTW 2 comes out next Spring. Great to see Kirby selling so well in such a short space of time, definitely deserves to be a 5 million plus seller.

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15 hours ago, Dcubed said:

 Nice to see talent being recognised :)

The talented Ms. Ripley never gets enough recognition for all the metro androidery we get.

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Interesting quote from Furukawa about the challenge of releasing a new gen of hardware:

Quote

Furukawa was replying to a question about how Nintendo has been able to maintain a strong game release schedule six years into Switch's life cycle, and what his thoughts were on transitioning to its next hardware platform.

"We have already announced a portion of our software roadmap releasing up to next spring," he said. "Unlike the past, we continue to have a large variety of games scheduled to be released, even beyond five years of release. This is because the Nintendo Switch has had such a smooth launch, allowing us to focus all of our development resources on a single platform.

"However, the question of whether we will be able to just as smoothly transition from the Nintendo Switch to the next generation of hardware is a major concern for us. Based on our experiences with the Wii, Nintendo DS, and other hardware, it is very clear that one of the major obstacles is how to easily transition from one hardware to the next.

“To help alleviate this risk, we’re focusing on building long-term relationships with our customers. While we will continue launching new software on the Nintendo Switch, we will also provide services that also use Nintendo Accounts and other IP outside of gaming software. We intend for this to help build a lasting impact with our customers.”

“There are currently nearly 100 million annual playing users, and going forward, it is important to consider how we can maintain and expand on that number. This will also be essential when we consider our plan for the next hardware platform.”

https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/nintendo-says-the-transition-to-its-next-console-is-a-major-concern-for-us/

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