Nintendo’s former indie boss Dan Adelman has said that tradition and bureaucracy hinder the company’s ability to remain in touch with modern trends.
Adelman left that firm in 2014 after nine years, admitting in the process that Nintendo had banned him from using Twitter and even suggested that PR be allowed to tweet on his account on his behalf.
“Nintendo is not only a Japanese company, it is a Kyoto-based company. For people who aren’t familiar, Kyoto-based are to Japanese companies as Japanese companies are to US companies. They’re very traditional, and very focused on hierarchy and group decision making,” he told Dromble.
“Unfortunately, that creates a culture where everyone is an advisor and no one is a decision maker – but almost everyone has veto power.
“Even [Nintendo president] Mr Iwata is often loathe to make a decision that will alienate one of the executives in Japan, so to get anything done, it requires laying a lot of groundwork: talking to the different groups, securing their buy-in, and using that buy-in to get others on board. At the subsidiary level, this is even more pronounced, since people have to go through this process first at NOA or NOE (or sometimes both) and then all over again with headquarters.
“All of this is not necessarily a bad thing, though it can be very inefficient and time consuming. The biggest risk is that at any step in that process, if someone flat out says no, the proposal is as good as dead. So in general, bolder ideas don’t get through the process unless they originate at the top.”
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