It Was a Big Week For Employers Bidding Goodbye To Workers; One Willingly, Most Unwillingly

It Was a Big Week For Employers Bidding Goodbye To Workers; One Willingly, Most Unwillingly

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime goes Fils-Away. Elsewhere, layoffs percolate.

It was the end of an era at Nintendo of America this week as the public face of the company, Reggie Fils-Aime, announced his retirement after 15 years. He's seen the company through some of its highest highs and lowest lows, but he's going out at a pretty good time. The Switch is on the upswing, and looks well-positioned to lead the market for the next couple years as Sony coasts into the next generation and Microsoft works doggedly to get its groove back. And as much as some people may miss the executive's presence in Nintendo Direct videos, it's worth noting that the entire industry is losing something more. As Geek.com's Jordan Minor pointed out, Fils-Aime is "arguably the most powerful visible Black person in video games." Representation matters at all levels of the industry, and Fils-Aime's departure is absolutely a blow on that front.

Elsewhere in the industry, things hit the fan. Following on from Activision Blizzard's blood bath last week, EA led another round of layoffs from various studios this week. Oh, and we're capping the week off with multiple reports floating around that Microsoft is planning to bring its Game Pass service and first-party games to the Nintendo Switch, forever altering the dynamics of the console wars and paving the way for a console United Nations sort of deal. That's probably worth a mention.

QUOTE | "Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever. It's a part that is filled with gratitude—for the incredibly talented people I've worked with, for the opportunity to represent such a wonderful brand, and most of all, to feel like a member of the world's most positive and enduring gamer community." - Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, announcing his retirement after more than 15 years with Nintendo.

QUOTE | "In talking with our own sources, it has been suggested that the announcement of Game Pass on Switch could come as soon as this year. - Game Informer corroborates a Direct Feed Games report that Microsoft will be launching a streaming version of its Game Pass subscription service on Nintendo's console.

QUOTE | "We recently made a decision to shift teams to focus more on our live services, and have entered a consultation period that may impact some roles in the studio." - Electronic Arts explains why it conducted a wave of layoffs at its Australian studio FireMonkeys. The cuts have been estimated at as much as a quarter of the studio's headcount, or 50 people.

QUOTE | "We can confirm that due to the cancellation of unannounced projects, ArenaNet will make staff reductions." - ArenaNet explains why it's planning an upcoming wave of layoffs at the Guild Wars studio.

QUOTE | "Razer has made changes to realign our organization and strengthen our path to growth. We will centralize our resources to focus on key projects and improve our profitability. " - Peripheral maker Razer explains why it laid off 30 people. Earlier this week, it announced it would be closing the Razer Games Store digital distribution storefront just 10 months after launching it.

QUOTE | "We are not satisfied with the results of the initial launch of Heroes of Warland as a whole. We failed to reach satisfactory game performance and monetisation." - Nitro Games CEO Jussi Tähtinen explains why the studio is laying off up to 30 people, as much as 60 percent of its total headcount.

QUOTE | "Future plc believes that 'we all row the boat'—that this company's strength is built on the collective efforts of its workers. We believe that ideal is best upheld through a fair, collectively agreed-upon contract." - The union representing the staff of 11 Future US publications (including GamesRadar and PC Gamer) have called on Future to recognize the union and enter collective bargaining talks to codify approaches to fair compensation, severance packages, editorial protections, diversity, and transparency.

QUOTE | "We had deer and wolves in the game, and the wolves would hunt the deer down. But the deer would also urinate from time to time, and they would end up in these ditches, and would urinate so much they'd drown in their own urine. And the wolves would poop, but they'd have these mountains of poop because they stayed in one place." - Noita developer Petri Purho talks about the unexpected design challenges that spring up when making a game with loads of interacting systems.

QUOTE | "The actual question of whether Crackdown 3 has been a commercial success is going to be pretty much unanswerable." - GamesIndustry.biz's Rob Fahey considers the radical changes that Xbox Game Pass could bring to the industry from both a commercial and cultural perspective.

STAT | 30.4 percent - Percentage of esports watchers who are female, up 6.5 percent in just two years.

STAT | $225 million - Money raised this week by THQ Nordic in a new share offering. The funds will be put toward "franchises, game development studios or other assets which complement the operations" of the publisher, which has already been on a considerable acquisition spree in recent years.

QUOTE | "Basically my girlfriend and I have been living with my grandma for the last year... We had enough to live that last year on our own, but we wanted to save it for localization and stuff." - Eastshade developer Danny Weinbaum finds a way to talk about the incredible sacrifice he made to get his game finished without romanticizing it and making it something other indies would want to do.

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Brendan Sinclair

North American Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry International in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at CBS-owned GameSpot in the US.

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