320 individuals, including 130 full-time Nintendo of Europe employees and 190 who worked for the localization department through a leasing agency, will be laid off effective August 31.
"As previously communicated in June 2014, approximately 130 permanent employees will be released by Nintendo of Europe (Germany) at the end of August 2014 as part of a set of measures to better enable the European business to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment," Nintendo explained in a statement to Kotaku.
"As a separate measure, Nintendo of Europe is reorganizing its European Localization Development (ELD) department, where it currently uses a number of temporary agency workers in translation and testing activities, in order to increase flexibility and cost-efficiency in the long-term," the statement continued, stating that other workers would be brought in from third-party companies as needed in the future.
Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata had spoken out against layoffs in the past. "If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, employee morale will decrease," he said during an investor call in July of 2013. "I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world."
"I know that some employers publicize their restructuring plan to improve their financial performance by letting a number of their employees go," he continued, "but at Nintendo, employees make valuable contributions in their respective fields, so I believe that laying off a group of employees will not help to strengthen Nintendo's business in the long run."