Big change at Nintendo's testing center ahead of Switch 2

The American company Nintendo has confirmed that it is restructuring a small army of contractors who help test its games and devices at its headquarters in Washington state. Kotaku. According to four current and former contractors, the result is a significant downsizing that comes amid layoffs in the rest of the video game industry. Mario maker It is said that he was late Launch a Successor to “Switch 2”. Until 2025.

“These changes will include terminating some contractor tasks, as well as creating a significant number of new full-time employee positions,” a Nintendo spokesperson said. Kotaku In an email message. Contractors at Nintendo of America Who feel undervalued and underpaid They have long called on the company to make them full-time “red badge” employees rather than exploit loopholes in seasonal work requirements. While some of them have now finally been converted to live hires, others, including testers with 10+ years of experience, will get the boot, though Nintendo says all those affected will receive severance packages.

When contacted for comment, a Nintendo spokesperson provided the following statement.

Nintendo of America (NOA) has reorganized its product testing functions to achieve greater global integration into its game development efforts. The changes will also better align NOA with interregional testing procedures and processes.

These changes will include terminating some contractor assignments, as well as creating a significant number of new full-time staff positions. For all assignments that end, contractor agencies, with support from NOA, will provide severance packages and provide assistance during their transition.

For those fellow contractors who will be leaving us, we are extremely grateful for the important contributions they have made to our business, and extend our deepest thanks for their hard work and service to Nintendo.

It is not immediately clear how many employees will be laid off or whose contracts will not be renewed. According to four current and former employees, the restructuring could affect more than 100 contractors, and most of those converted to full-time status appear to have been taken out of software testing. This will be Nintendo's first mass layoffs since widespread cuts across competitors in the console space Like Sony And Microsoft earlier this year, though it did not appear to affect any current full-time employees.

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The shift also comes during a recent “quiet” period in Nintendo of America’s testing division, three contractors said Kotaku. They said there were no major new first-party games in testing, and none of them were aware of anyone having hands-on time with the upcoming Switch 2, despite previous hopes of it arriving as early as the second half of 2024. They also weren't Sure how Nintendo of America will continue testing huge games like last year The Legend of Zelda: Kingdom Tears, which was praised for its technical performance and lack of errors with the new cuts. Nintendo declined to comment on the status of its testing pipeline.

According to a preliminary report by a Brazilian journalist Pedro Henrique Lotti Lippiwhich he later confirmed VGC, EurogamerAnd Bloombergthe Switch 2 was recently delayed until early 2025. VGC It was reported that the change was intended to give Nintendo more time to support the launch of the new console with big first-party games, similar to the method The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 DeluxeAnd Super Mario Odyssey All of this helped create the adapter Sales tyrant During her first year.

Updated 3/27/2024 at 1:16 PM ET: Added more information about current full-time employees who are not part of the layoffs.

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