According to a Korean website INVEN, Nintendo of Korea has laid off nearly 80% of the its 60 member team and has plans to relocate sometime soon.
The major cuts will leave the current team with only (around) ten employees. While the division’s current CEO, Fukuda Hiroyuki, will remain in his position, the company’s current Seoul office will be relocated to somewhere outside of the capital.
The South Korean branch of Nintendo was established in 2006 and has been suffering financial losses over the past four years. In 2011, the Korean division recorded a loss of nearly 29 billion South Korean Won (roughly $25 million USD) and 25.7 billion South Korean Won (roughly $22 million USD) in 2012. The company would also report smaller deficits in 2013 and 2014, but not to the scale of 2011 and 2012.
The decline of Nintendo’s popularity in South Korea could be attributed to the popularity of computer games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends, Aion, Blade & Soul and StarCraft. Furthermore, the rise of eSports has also had a renown effect on South Korean culture, where competitors are seen as celebrities and are household names.
Nintendo fans in the region will have a lot to forward to, despite the team’s recent financial shortcomings. Games such as Hyrule Warriors: Legends, Fire Emblem: Fates, and Pokémon Sun and Moon are still scheduled for release this year.
At the moment, Nintendo has not made any official statements about the future of Nintendo of Korea.
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