Nintendo confirms PR cutbacks

Reggie Fils-Aime says 60 percent of NOA sales and marketing is gone; status of Harrison, Kaplan, Llewelyn unclear.

The rumor mill churned Wednesday, as word spread that up to 90 percent of Nintendo of America's public relations department, including senior vice president of marketing George Harrison, vice president of marketing Perrin Kaplan, and senior director of public relations Beth Llewelyn, had departed the company over issues stemming from the imminent relocation of the sales and marketing branch, currently based in Redmond, Washington.

Today, NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed some cutbacks had indeed occurred. The outspoken executive told the San Jose Mercury News that 55 jobs would be relocated to the San Francisco/San Jose area at the end of September, as well as 25 more heading to New York City. He also stated that 60 percent of NOA's sales and marketing staff would not be making the move, opting instead to leave the company.

Putting on his corporate face, Fils-Aime remained optimistic about the timing of the transition, stating, "It's much easier to do this right now when we certainly have the wind at our back." As for Harrison, Kaplan, and Llewelyn's status, Fils-Aime would not comment on their status, other than calling reports of such "speculation and rumor."

Fils-Aime also offered some insight into the impetus behind relocating the department. With Silicon Valley playing home to many game developers--he named Redwood Shores-based Electronic Arts and San Francisco-based LucasArts, specifically--Fils-Aime said a desire to be closer to the action was behind the move.

"In our minds, it's essential to spend physical time with people from other companies, to be involved with them as neighbors and do business with them face to face," he said. A similar rationale was offered for the relocation to Manhattan, where many marketing and advertising firms are located.

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Discussion

256 comments
master_49
master_49

I feel bad for those NOA staffers. No matter how good the job, as someone below said, it is very touch to pick up shop and move. That said, Nintendo is a HUGE company with TONS of opportunity. As a GAMER and not a fanboy, I know that Nintendo will find the talent they need to ensure that Wii, DS and future consoles are marketed well and get the shelf space they deserve. Microsoft/Sony...are you checking out this story? Highly experienced people out there for you...

icarus212001
icarus212001

damn that sucks. Nintendo finaaly gets a great thing going and people still get screwed over. Guess it goes to show that nothing in this world is certain, huh

weisguy119
weisguy119

Like Nintendo needs marketing personnel right now. The Wii and DS practically sell themselves and the word of mouth is phenomenal.

aisufi
aisufi

does anybody really care other then the people who just got laid off?

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

That means Nintendo is making even more money now since they don't have to pay these execs anymore :-D

dj_b02us
dj_b02us

the fact that nintendo moved AWAY from their neighbor microsoft doesnt speak well about rare games ever being on the virtual console. :.(

hirmetreus
hirmetreus

Somebody had to pay for the name 'Wii'. Just kidding. It really sucks to see this, especially since nintendo are doing so well.

Digital-Hero
Digital-Hero

They'll go to Microsoft like former Nintendo guy Ken Lobb went to Microsoft. Microsoft will treat them better and give them better pay anyway.

fauljosh
fauljosh

"Paul_TheGreat Sony should get those people." Sony doesn't have a presence in Redmond. They'll more likely go to Microsoft.

chromium42
chromium42

"SamejGink Children, we are talking about 80 jobs in a multi BILLION dollar corporation, and about 45 of them will be unfilled, FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES!!! They're moving from Snoozattle to 2 of the largest hotbeds of talent in the field. This is just Public Relations and Marketing, not game design, not their Japanese or European branches, stop acting like its the end of the world. This is NOTHING compared to the Executive shuffling that Sony has done over the past few months, even with Harrison, Kaplan, and Llewelyn leaving." Right on bro. This is a non-event in the grand scheme of things.

KickinIt_ftw
KickinIt_ftw

@slapme7times and the board in general: "why would anyone want to leave nintendo atm? such a stupid decision... unless the lead staff predicts that the hype will dissipate incredibly rapidly once people get bored of the new controller and mini game whoring... so which is it, jumping off a nice ship because it'll make some other company want to pick you up, knowing it's about to sink and also sink you?" Allow me to cut the speculation and console bashing off right here. Your question, 'so which is it,' is a false dilemma, like asking: "so, are you still beating your wife," when neither yes or no is the correct answer. The bulk of people on the PR staff for Nintendo are from Seattle. They grew up here, went to school here, have kids and family here, etc. It's not an issue of going somewhere better OR an indication that they expect the company to fare poorly. The bottom line is that people just don't want to pull up tent, put their homes on the market, and hunt around a place to live thousands of miles away, over a job - even a really nice one like NOA. Business is business. As large as they are, Nintendo needs their PR staff in those regions; close to the media, advertisers and the majority US 3rd party publishers. It's not an issue of getting stepped on -- their staff had the option of relocating or accepting a severance package. Six in ten picked the severance package. I'm actually surprised to see that the number wasn't higher. The sky is not falling. Nintendo will open up shop in the two largest PR markets in the US in September. Those jobs will be filled within two weeks. Everyone relax.

AceCometh
AceCometh

Sad when the large corporate giants step on the people that make them successful.

Konfusion
Konfusion

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I won't miss them. at all. I never liked those two, anyway.

SamejGink
SamejGink

Children, we are talking about 80 jobs in a multi BILLION dollar corporation, and about 45 of them will be unfilled, FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES!!! They're moving from Snoozattle to 2 of the largest hotbeds of talent in the field. This is just Public Relations and Marketing, not game design, not their Japanese or European branches, stop acting like its the end of the world. This is NOTHING compared to the Executive shuffling that Sony has done over the past few months, even with Harrison, Kaplan, and Llewelyn leaving.

Metalhead8282
Metalhead8282

Well, it's not 90% but that's still pretty high to be letting go over half your staff.....sucks for Nintendo....

angelGP32
angelGP32

it's just damage control, was it Reggie that said years ago during the N64 era that they didn't need 3rd party support or was that someone else. Regardless, some loud mouth at Nintendo said that and they definetly lost support, they lost support from Capcom for a long while and Square, luckily they recovered somewhat with those companies, but since the Wii is supposedly a hit, I still can't figure that out, they will now have to recover and remend any bridges burned over past comments.

snakes2solid
snakes2solid

cut back on Reggie's job!!.. his overbloated salary can cover a whole staff of " fresh new blood" !!.. lol......

hitomo
hitomo

"Is this gonna effect the games we play?" it can only get better - if you refering to nintendo games

GKBeetle
GKBeetle

I don't see how people see people leaving the company because they don't want to move as being bad news for Nintendo. I think that they got 40% to stay on and move with them to be a more telling factor. I would much rather find a new job than move my family away.

ryuburger
ryuburger

Finally about time Nintendo got some bad news. The Wii is so overhyped anyway. The Wii-mote remote is far from innovative.

MCW101
MCW101

so it 's not only Sony .....

KingKoop
KingKoop

Is this gonna effect the games we play?

huntakillaa
huntakillaa

I think they should leave because i dont think they like their jobs

2TrickedOut
2TrickedOut

slapme7times- You think they wanted to leave Nintendo? Companies are good at getting rid of over paid employee's and hiring new ones.

slapme7times
slapme7times

why would anyone want to leave nintendo atm? such a stupid decision... unless the lead staff predicts that the hype will dissipate incredibly rapidly once people get bored of the new controller and mini game whoring... so which is it, jumping off a nice ship because it'll make some other company want to pick you up, knowing it's about to sink and also sink you? or, is it the total insanity of these people screwing promising future years with nintendo? hm... :) ---also, allow me to interject my useless opinion about the wii's so called 'innovation' the wii isn't innovative, it's a new controller to play the same old games. nintendo is just shoveling cheap **** down the pipeline, and people are buying it because it seems so new.... really, these are merely the same god damn games, with a new controller :) i fail to see what's fun or innovative about that :)

Makhdoom82
Makhdoom82

Now they have more reach since they have offices in two areas !!! Good Job Nintendo !!! :D

jesus_knight
jesus_knight

well if they are hiring now, i gotta drop by nintendo's office hehe

Agelu
Agelu

So the rumors were true... And they kinda denied the rumors. Pssh.

km1498
km1498

with the success of Nintendo's current marketing strategy, I'm sure most of those people will be able to find jobs quickly.

Jestarius
Jestarius

firstpicktaken "Nuk1euz , there are still more ps1 games being played than N64 games" Given the success of the virtual console, with Super Mario 64 being one of the highest sellers, I really kind of doubt that.

NyGin07
NyGin07

firstpicktaken , of course there are more ps1 games being played than n64 games seeing as ps2 and ps3 are backwards compatible. i was just playing crash bandicoot not to long ago lol. reminded me of a better time, you know, when crash games werent freakin horrible.

nmhwii9791
nmhwii9791

aerislSalive, yeah, that's the point of what nintendo is trying to do. thank god they are pushing the developers to put out something other than the same recycled crap of the last few years. innovation is the entire point of the wii, a point i think you are missing.

aerisISalive
aerisISalive

OT i think it's cool that Nintendo focuses more on gameplay than graphics...but if they put too much pressure on third party developers with all this fancy motion sensing then in the long run they may end up losing the console war. with the PS3 and 360, developers can keep on making games like they always have, only with more graphical capabilities. but with the Wii, it forces them to come up with something totally new, even if it's a sequel.

firstpicktaken
firstpicktaken

Nuk1euz , there are still more ps1 games being played than N64 games

dragg0n
dragg0n

Its a smart move for Nintendo to move to SF and NYC for the reasons listed above. They will need to rely on 3rd party publishers to help keep their new gen system ahead as it is.

Nuk1euz
Nuk1euz

I myself dont understand this HDTV talk when 3D technology is being developed for next gen televisions and will be tough competition for HDTV. Nintendo isnt in a rush to create a technological console. Computer technology advances always on a monthly basis so Nintendo always has the option to go all out whenever they wanted to, but they dont, cuz they want FUN GAMES. Why do you think SNES games are still being played? Do you know anyone still playing PS games? Other than that overrated FFVII (Still good, but not THAT good) New gen gamers dont understand that graphics dont mean much, but they are just thick headed. and shut up about HD, cuz its gonna be gone in the 2010's

Jestarius
Jestarius

"princeofgames90 Well when the time of HD is must have well see what happens to WII" These comments are just stupid. Hell, if HD graphics were that stunningly important to all concerned, why are we all not playing games on computers exclusively? There is no contest between which one has better graphics and resolution...yet, oddly enough, people play more on consoles. I'd say HD is a lot more overrated than some people wish to believe.

Trogeton
Trogeton

LOL They say it like its the first time

KickinIt_ftw
KickinIt_ftw

@princeofgames90: "Well when the time of HD is must have well see what happens to WII" ...In what? Another three years, or so? The NEXT, next gen consoles will be well into production before HD is a 'must have.'

Cerza
Cerza

wow talk about bad news for NoA

chubhold
chubhold

NOA can't think of some arrangement to retain these folks? If I were Microsoft, I'd do whatever it takes to lure them ASAP!

princeofgames90
princeofgames90

Well when the time of HD is must have well see what happens to WII

Raeldor
Raeldor

Wanting to be closer to their development community definitely speaks a lot about Nintendo's commitment to quality third party titles. Whilst a transition like this is always hard, I am sure Nintendo will do everything they can to keep the staff they see as critical to their current and ongoing success; it makes good business sense.

lamprey263
lamprey263

OMG, I've been seeing people try to comment that the Wii is in trouble since this article was posted. While I can say that it is my own opinion that the Wii isn't the greatest console on the market (as far as my preference for playing it goes), the system is a huge success to the company, there's no denying that. Since November the Wii has been catching up to the X360, with 7.55 million Wii consoles now sold, catching up to 11 million of Microsoft's X360 consoles now sold. Then there's Sony in lame third with only 3.26 million PS3s sold. Now, after Sony's bumb in numbers with its UK release, the PS3 is already flat-lining there, just like it did in the US and Japan. In it's second week out in the UK, PS3 sales are down 82%. The Wii is outselling both the other next gen consoles, everywhere. Why shouldn't it? It's at $250 at its launch price, that's cheap enough for an impulse buy.

Chirico_Cuvie
Chirico_Cuvie

Nintendo has been in Redmond since day one. They wanted to move to clean house of some dead weight, and being in the town that Microsoft built isn't exactly the best place for a rival company. Besides, there is little to no need for a PR division since the Wii and DS sell themselves. By the time the holiday season rolls around they will have a new team in place to follow up on the previous depts plan that's already set for the rest of the year anyway.

time_annomoly
time_annomoly

@ Hovan64: Ok, I don't know what part of the rock you live under... but Nintendo's GAMECUBE (yes, the system before the Nintendo Wii) has been consistently out of stock in countries such as Japan. They are the one company that has realized that a "fun game" does not require an excessive number of explosions or weapons. They have managed to make much more off the people not considered "serious gamers" by making games that are not overly violent and can actually be played by younger children. And they STILL manage to also put out games that adults enjoy too (even those that no longer have a kid inside). Nintendo need not hang up their gloves. Sony might *cough cough*no games*cough hack*for new system*cough cough wheeze*. Especially with their PS3 doing a bang up Xbox-360 Launch repeat with very few (if any) units sold at launch continuing to operate and very few people bothering with the PSP as they realize that they can get way more gaming time out of the Nintendo DS or Nintendo Gameboy Advanced SP.

MSG-Deathscythe
MSG-Deathscythe

@hovan64: these are only pr people kid, not miyamoto. they have nothing to do with making games. do you even know what pr means and what they do? do you really think that nintendo should hang their gloves now? you think they should just go "yeah the ds and the wii are kicking butt so let's just quit right now because a kid said so." if you think so lowly of innovation then i hope you enjoy hunting animals for food and cooking them with fire created from rubbing sticks.