As a Game Designer, it’s always scary to know that the industry is in trouble. Different to other larger and more mature economic activities, video games have a rather volatile nature. One step in the wrong direction and sales will plummet miserably. Yes, sales, everything always revolves around sales because they are what drive any industry and allow growth. However, Satoru Iwata in one of his most recent statements refuses to lay off part of his staff. Is this really a wise move?
In my opinion, it’s decisions like these that show great leadership. Being the head of one of the world’s biggest and most well-known companies, you’re constantly being monitored, critiqued and even attacked. In decisions as simple as fighting through the bad times and waiting for things to pick up there’s a human aspect to business that we tend to forget. Don’t get me wrong, this is like getting a tattoo, buying a house or moving countries: there’s an endless list of pro’s and con’s, but in the end, the ideal decision depends on where you stand and what is best for the person making the decision and those directly involved.
Nintendo is one of the companies that most inspires me and one that has lately tried riskier things when it comes to interactivity in my opinion (Wiimotes, second screen usage in Wii U, motion sensors, etc.). These risks sometimes take a toll on the company when things don’t go as planned. However, in these times of great turmoil, taking a decision of not firing people is refreshing. If you belong to the industry, you most likely know what crunching feels like: the pressure, the long hours of no sleep, no social activities to distract you and terrible eating habits. Knowing that a company that you’ve sacrificed so much for and to which you’ve given your best effort, energy and creativity is willing to keep you even if the situation is tough, is like a soothing balm.
I admire Mr. Iwata’s decision because I’m not sure if being in the same circumstances and with the pressure he faces everyday from shareholders, peers, employees, etc. I would be as brave. I’m sure thousands of families are grateful and feel more motivated to work because they know they are being led by a human who understands the ramifications of a decision as simple as this can be a lot more dramatic than just fixing the company’s renevue. When you work, you must always remember you work with and for people. If you get rid of them, what do you have left?
See you soon,