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Former Nintendo Indie Boss: Nintendo Out of Touch to Modern Gaming - VGChartz

Former Nintendo Indie Boss: Nintendo Out of Touch to Modern Gaming - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 22 January 2015 / 5,367 Views

Nintendo’s former indie boss Dan Adelman spoke with Dromble about how out of touch Nintendo executives are about modern gaming. Adelman worked with Nintendo for nine years and left in 2014. He was banned from using Twitter after leaving.

"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 companie," said Adelman. 

"They’re very traditional, and very focused on hierarchy and group decision making. Unfortunately, that creates a culture where everyone is an advisor and no one is a decision maker – but almost everyone has veto power."

"Even 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."

"There are two other problems that come to mind. First, at the risk of sounding ageist, because of the hierarchical nature of Japanese companies, it winds up being that the most senior executives at the company cut their teeth during NES and Super NES days and do not really understand modern gaming, so adopting things like online gaming, account systems, friends lists, as well as understanding the rise of PC gaming has been very slow. Ideas often get shut down prematurely just because some people with the power to veto an idea simply don’t understand it."

"The last problem is that there is very little reason to try and push these ideas. Risk taking is generally not really rewarded. Long-term loyalty is ultimately what gets rewarded, so the easiest path is simply to stay the course. I’d love to see Nintendo make a more concerted effort to encourage people at all levels of the company to feel empowered to push through ambitious proposals, and then get rewarded for doing so."

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A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. Outside, in the real world, he has a passion for the outdoors which includes everything from hiking to having received his B.A. in Environmental Studies. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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17 Comments

JazzB1987 (on 22 January 2015)

Stop with that nonsense headlines. Do your job and quote him or dont do anything at all. Interpreting it the way YOU want and making a headline out of it is just retarded. He is saying how traditionalistic Nintendo is and not how out of touch Nintendo is with the modern mainstream community.


JazzB1987 (on 22 January 2015)

Btw I read this thing 2 days or so ago (shows how fast you are with NEWS) and the way he says it is completely true and honest. The way YOU present it completely changes the meaning you also completely left out more than half of what he said.....


  • +1
gigaSheik (on 22 January 2015)

"...the most senior executives at the company cut their teeth during NES and Super NES days and do not really understand modern gaming, so adopting things like online gaming, account systems, friends lists, as well as understanding the rise of PC gaming has been very slow. Ideas often get shut down prematurely just because some people with the power to veto an idea simply don't understand it."

If that doesn't mean "out of touch" your capability of interpreting a text is in need of a recycle.


  • +2
padib (on 22 January 2015)

giga, wolfpackN64 says it best. They might be stubborn, it doesn't mean they are out of touch.


  • 0
gigaSheik (on 22 January 2015)

Sorry but in this time and age, any company thats stubborn is a company out of touch. This stubbornness is costing millions and sinking the company. That's a lot of "out of touch" right there.


  • +1
padib (on 23 January 2015)

It also allowed them to release the doomed Wii back in 2006.

What is mostly out of touch is how people view Nintendo imho. Sure the company is off at times but being stubborn isn't a problem in and of itself. Being stubborn and unreasonable is. They do that at times, I won't deny that, but at other times they are stubborn and it pays off. Remember the Game Boy?


  • 0
cfin2987@gmail.com (on 22 January 2015)

William D'Angelo out of touch with credible journalism.


WolfpackN64 (on 22 January 2015)

They might be stubborn, doesn't mean they're out of touch.


zedo0 (on 22 January 2015)

I can agree with that


  • +1
fluky-nintendy (on 22 January 2015)

True words. Nintendo should listen to this man.


Raze (on 22 January 2015)

Sounds like US government, lots of people suggesting things, no true leaders, and if an idea gets suggested, someone else shuts it down.


HylianSwordsman (on 22 January 2015)

Sure, twist his fucking words, Will. He says some senior executives are getting in the way and choking up even Iwata's plans? Don't headline that Nintendo's hierarchy slows adoption of new gaming trends, because that would make sense and be based on what he said. No, instead, twist his words into clickbait bullshit, that's good journalism right there. Nevermind that the interview had tons of other great insight, like how they decide who makes front page of the eshop, no, let's focus on a comment made about a couple elderly Japanese executives and apply it to all of Nintendo, missing the entire point that the structure allows a couple old fogeys to stifle creative talent across the whole company. Great job Will. Top fucking notch journalism, Billy old pal.


Skidmore (on 22 January 2015)

He probably proposed a lot of innovations and got downplayed, this might be the reason he left.


Rogerioandrade (on 23 January 2015)

That headline....is just dumb. He didn´t say that after all.


bunchanumbers (on 22 January 2015)

kinda funny that the company that is the most out of touch comes up with the most innovations to video game controls.


FromDK (on 22 January 2015)

He sound like he's mad.. very personaly atack. But wasent he also the man.. who Nintendo banned from using twitter.. and fired short after?


kljesta64 (on 22 January 2015)

nonsense in a nut shell