Nintendo has brought down the shutters on two of its western-based offices. Nintendo’s California headquarters in Redwood City — as well as its studio in Toronto, Canada — both closed their doors over the course of last week.
As reported by Kotaku, the former Redwood City office was a central hub for Nintendo of America’s marketing department, working with retailers across the nation to supply and stock Nintendo products — from hardware and games to clothing and merchandise. Some 100 employees have been “displaced” by the closure, though it’s not clear how many will be either transferred to Nintendo’s main headquarters in Redmond, Washington, or made redundant from their respective roles.
No official reason has been offered for the closure of Redwood City, though its SVP, Nick Chavez, recently resigned from the company in order to take up a new role with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Nintendo of America’s Executive VP, Devon Pritchard, will take up Chavez’s former role on a temporary basis. Additionally, the closure of its Toronto studio will reportedly see its employees relocated to Nintendo’s main Canadian headquarters in Vancouver, British Colombia.
While the closing and consolidation of studios are relatively common in the gaming industry, it is exceptionally rare in the case of Nintendo. The last major restructure within the publisher came back in 2014, when Nintendo of Europe restructured its localization and testing departments for the territory, ultimately releasing over 300 permanent and temporary employees from their jobs.
While the reasons behind last week’s closures remain unknown, it seems highly unlikely that Nintendo is in any form of dire straits. Its most-recent hardware, Nintendo Switch and Switch OLED, has been the best-selling global console for almost three years straight, with Sony’s PlayStation 5 hardware finally breaking its streak just last month. Nintendo software also enjoys the most enduring sales of almost any developer, with releases such as Animal Crossing New Horizons, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Oddysey remaining high in the sales charts years after release.