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Nintendo commits to 10% pay rise despite sales downturn

Less sales doesn't have to mean large layoffs.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

February 7, 2023

2 Min Read
Photo of the Nintendo Switch OLED.

Despite a slump in its newest financial report, Nintendo confirmed it'll continue instituting a 10 percent pay raise for its employees. 

At an earnings briefing reported by Reuters, company president Shuntaro Furukawa expressed that it was "important for our long-term growth to secure our workforce." The raise comes as Japan's prime minister Fumio Kishida told Japanese companies to pay its workers more money after the country's inflation reached its highest point since 1981.

Nintendo's report covered a nine-month span ending on December 31, 2022, and showed consistent declines across hardware and software sales. Slower software sales were brought on by declining hardware sales, which themselves were caused by component shortages affecting production, which Nintendo only recently solved.

Even though it's been partially brought on by Kishida's urging for all businesses in Japan, Nintendo's decision is particularly notable. It stands in contrast to other studios such as Microsoft and Take-Two, which have opted to lay off employees or kill projects in recent weeks in order to cut costs. 

What isn't known about the pay raises if that will extend to non-Japanese workers, and contract workers in particular. In August 2022, Nintendo of America (NoA) was alleged to have issues with pay back. One contractor working there for nearly a decade told Kotaku she was paid less than a male junior contractor, and only received a raise after weeks of fighting for it. 

Around that same time, there were labor complaints and allegations that NoA's staffing company Aston Carter was retaliating against employees who were speaking about low pay wages and attempted unionization.

However, current NoA employees told Kotaku that they'd received "substantial" pay increases following months of back-and-forth with management. One anonymous tester said their pay was now $20/hour, up from $16/hour in 2022. 

"I think everyone expressing their frustration about the pay is finally paying off and everyone in the department is discussing it more openly now instead of keeping wages a secret," they said.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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