Nintendo accused of exploiting contractors

by Adam Fitch  ·  Updated 
Nintendo accused of exploiting contractors

Nintendo of America has been accused of exploiting temporary contractors in a new report from Axios.

The accusations: Nintendo contractors, both current and former, have been speaking out about their experiences at the video game giant.

  • One former contractor named Ash, speaking to Axios, worked in customer service for years. They claim that the stress of the job, produced by strict rules around having time off and limited routes to full-time employment, aggravated their heart condition. “I loved what I did. I hated how I was treated,” they said.
  • The report continues with Ash, who explained that they were told they would lose their job at the company should they attend their grandfather's funeral.
  • Axios spoke with seven other contractors and has confirmed that accounts of their experience at Nintendo line up with others detailed by reports from both Kotaku and IGN. Additional allegations from recent reports include contractors being treated like "second class workers," receiving poor pay, and being funnelled into a system that's unstable for temporary workers.
  • The report reveals that there was a Facebook group named the 'Nintendo Recovery Center' for hundreds of disgruntled workers, though it was recently closed "out of fear of drawing management's attention."

The industry: The alleged working environment for contractors at Nintendo is worrying, but not rare in gaming.

  • The use of contractors isn't uncommon in the games industry and the technology industry at large — cast your mind back to Microsoft's $97M lawsuit back in 2000 for its misuse of temporary workers, for example.
  • Activision Blizzard announced in April 2022 that it would be converting 1,100 quality assurance (QA) workers from temporary staff to full-time employees. Some people feel that the company, which is currently facing numerous lawsuits regarding workplace conduct, made the move to undermine and degrade a unionization effort at Raven.
  • Of course, it being common in the industry doesn't make it right. Those speaking out against Nintendo will be hoping the negative publicity will be a catalyst for changes within the company, and perhaps in the wider sector too.
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