Nintendo publishes average salary and work hours

Interesting to see them make this information public not sure how truthful it is but if it’s accurate it’s good to see a leader in gaming make good progress towards work life balance. Curious to know if “Mario Time” was factored in.

That retention rate is incredibly impressive I will say in a time when most engineers are jumping every 2 or 3 years it seems.


Keeping your senior developers on staff for as long as possible means far less re-learning the set of tools, a better collective understanding of design goals, and a pipeline for those veterans to mentor the junior staff.

I’d bet that the frequency with which dev teams will have to throw everything out and start over from nothing after “restructuring” occurs is one of the primary factors leading to longer/rougher development cycles.

I wouldn’t expect anyone from the investor class to understand that (or care, considering how often they maximize short-term revenue and then peace out on golden parachutes), which is another reason why the means of production in creative fields like games should be held by the creators, not disengaged executives.

Nintendo is far from perfect, but at least they understand how important it is to keep the business end of things divorced from the creative process.


While I know things have changed in the last decade or so, it is generally speaking true that Japanese corporations tend to not have the kinds of insane rates of turnover that we are accustomed to in America. While shūshin koyō is largely dead, it is still true that seniority plays a big role and companies largely promote internally, so there’s a two-way expectation of long-term employment. This is probably helped by an investment class that is less insane about quarterly reports than in the US.


I would very much like public sharing of salary data to be normalized. Our (the world’s) salary-shaming culture is essentially just a tool of management to depress labor organization.


It would also be appreciated if everyone could stop creating new job titles in an effort to prevent salary look up.


This isn’t an area I know a ton about (and think it is easy to fall into Orientalist trappings about – this isn’t an accusation of it against you, but a general statement), but I do think it has relevancy.

While corporations and their advocates will often spin their decisions as rational, inevitable, and capital-C Correct, it is important to understand that they aren’t any of those things. Or, if they are, they are only rational, inevitable, and correct under certain models and ways of understanding society.

I’m not an economic historian, but my limited knowledge of ‘financialisation’ is what I cannot extricate from this discussion. Since the 1980s, national economies and corporations have become ever-more focused on developing the financial services aspect of their economies. This drives a certain way of seeing the world, and helps to nurture the state-within-a-company that is its finance department. This has played out differently in different parts of the world – and is absolutely linked to the slavish adoration of shareholders now.

This is one of those weird moments where I have this split feeling of “Thank god they’re doing this” and “Should we really venerate a corporation just for not treating its workers like shit?”

So all together, here’s what I can say with confidence:

Time and time again, it’s easily shown that many of the unethical practices in the games industry (and frankly most industries) are totally unnecessary and don’t really bear all that much on the success of the company. There is no reason a company can’t do the bare minimum of ethical business practice.


In the state I live in it’s against the law to retaliate against a worker who talks about how much they make. That doesn’t stop them from threatening to fire people who do! At will employment basically negates all worker rights and should be abolished.

1 Like

There is a clarification about the work hours in the comments I feel is worth bringing up, from the lead engineer at 17-BIT:

That’s the contractual hours, not the average.
That Japanese is stating that the minimum working hours per day are 7hrs45mins. The core hours of 9.30-16.30 are no different than foreign core hours, times when you must be in the office (and with Japanese culture that essentially means 9.30am to the last train, employees might take advantage of a late start but no one is going home before their boss).


Of course their retention is great, nowhere to go when you’re at the top, producing content that is practically always very well received. Throw in some decent CEO’s (so, not like Konami) and you’ve got a mix few would ever walk away from while continuing to work for someone else.