Nintendo’s Former CEO, Satoru Iwata, Praised for Refusal to Lay Off Staff


  • Former Nintendo CEO, Satoru Iwata, took pay cuts to save jobs during tough times, earning praise on social media.
  • Gaming industry sees layoffs at companies like Activision Blizzard and Riot Games, sparking discussions about executive salaries.
  • Iwata’s compassionate leadership sets an example as the industry debates corporate responsibility and employee well-being.

Amidst a wave of layoffs sweeping through the gaming industry, former Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata’s legacy is gaining renewed attention. Satoru Iwata, who led Nintendo from 2002 until his untimely passing in 2015, is being celebrated for his remarkable decision to take substantial pay cuts to protect his employees during turbulent times for the company.

A turbulent era for Nintendo

Satoru Iwata’s tenure at Nintendo was marked by significant successes, such as the Nintendo DS and the Wii. However, it also saw the company’s challenges, particularly during the underwhelming Wii U era. The Wii U was widely considered a flop, but rather than resorting to layoffs or severe cost-cutting measures, Iwata took a different approach.

Iwata’s bold move

In 2013, Satoru Iwata made a pivotal decision. He announced a staggering 50 percent pay cut for himself, while other top executives accepted a 20 percent reduction in their salaries. This decision was not taken lightly, as it required Iwata to lead by example and prioritize the well-being and morale of his employees over short-term financial gains.

In his own words, Iwata explained, “If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, employee morale will decrease. I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world.”

He firmly believed in the value of Nintendo’s employees and the long-term benefits of retaining a skilled workforce. “At Nintendo, employees make valuable contributions in their respective fields, so I believe that laying off a group of employees will not help to strengthen Nintendo’s business in the long run,” he added.

Social media applause

Satoru Iwata’s principled stand and compassionate approach have not gone unnoticed. Social media is abuzz with praise for the former Nintendo CEO, highlighting the stark contrast with recent industry layoffs.

One fan tweeted, “Satoru Iwata being mentioned a lot right now shows you how badly the industry is crying out for someone, anyone on the executive level to actually give a damn about the staff being ground up at a rapidly increasing rate.”

Another voice in the gaming community echoed this sentiment, stating, “Video game executives should be shamed off the streets. Booed loudly at every opportunity. Makes me think of the example set by the apparently unimitable Satoru Iwata, cutting his own executive grade wages before pushing ground-level workers out the door.”

A third commenter emphasized an alternative approach to layoffs, saying, “How about instead of firing 500+ people you cut some f***in millions from the top positions and save some jobs.”

Industry-wide layoffs

The backdrop to this renewed admiration for Iwata’s leadership is a series of mass layoffs in the gaming industry. On January 25th, Activision Blizzard, Xbox, and ZeniMax collectively let go of 1900 employees, mere months after Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax for £57 billion was approved. Similarly, Riot Games recently terminated over 500 staff members and canceled development on all League Of Legends spin-off titles.

Executive salaries under scrutiny

As the industry grapples with these layoffs, scrutiny has turned to the staggering salaries of top gaming executives. For instance, Xbox boss Phil Spencer is reported to receive an annual salary of $10 million (£7.8 million). Meanwhile, former Activision CEO Bobby Kotick earned an average of $77,306 (£56,310) per hour in 2022, a figure that has sparked conversations about income inequality within the gaming industry.

Satoru Iwata’s legacy serves as a beacon of compassion and long-term vision during turbulent times in the gaming industry. His decision to prioritize employee morale over short-term financial gains continues to inspire discussions about corporate responsibility and leadership in the gaming world.

As the industry grapples with layoffs and income inequality, it remains to be seen whether more executives will follow in Iwata’s footsteps, putting the well-being of their employees at the forefront of their decision-making.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision

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Randa Moses

Randa is a passionate blockchain consultant and researcher. Deeply engrossed with the transformative power of blockchain, she weaves data into fascinating true-to-life next generation businesses. Guided by a steadfast commitment to research and continual learning, she keeps herself updated with the latest trends and advancements in the marriage between blockchain and artificial intelligence spheres.

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