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Reggie Fils-Aimé distances himself from Nintendo contract worker reports

"This isn't the Nintendo that I left."

Former Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aimé has distanced himself from recent reports concerning contract workers at the company, and said the issues raised were not representative of his time in charge.

Last month, a Nintendo of America staff member filed an official complaint concerning alleged company interference in unionisation efforts - though Nintendo itself later responded to say the employee had been fired for disclosure of confidential information.

Still, in the last two weeks, IGN and Kotaku have both published comments from various current and former contract workers at Nintendo, with criticism raised for how the company differentiates between full-time and contract staff in terms of pay, benefits and a feeling of inclusion, and claims it lacked a solid progression path to becoming a permanent employee.

"At this point I'm three years removed from being president of Nintendo of America," Fils-Aimé told Washington Post in response. "It's been a while. As I read the stories and I read the reports, it struck me - this isn't the Nintendo that I left.

"While I was at Nintendo, we routinely had meetings and events where our Associates - that's how we referred to our contract employees - were invited. Just as a small example, I was famous for doing bi-monthly and quarterly lunches with employees. It was a basic sign up and Associates were invited to sign up for this as much as full-time employees. We didn't make a distinction. The reports I hear really strike me as just not the company I knew. And I'll just leave it at that.

"A core focus while I was at Nintendo of America was having a healthy culture within the company, and I know I was able to achieve that. And certainly what's being described does not seem like a healthy culture."

IGN's report includes its own, similar response from Fils-Aimé, who said that, during his tenure, contract staff becoming full-time employees was "routine".

"While I was there, we routinely hired [contract employees] in as permanent employees," Fils-Aimé said. "We did it repeatedly. And interestingly, if you look at a number of well-known personalities within Nintendo of America, a lot of them started as contract employees 10, 15, or 20 years ago. So it's always been a positive part of the culture to recruit in the very best of the contract employees into the company. So I've read the same stories, this division between contract and full-time employee. All I can say is that is not at all the culture that I left as I retired from Nintendo."

Fils-Aimé is currently promoting his new memoir Disrupting the Game, which chronicles his time at the top of Nintendo. The former president has also been speaking on his views about the failed launch of Game Boy Micro and the non-release of Mother 3.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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