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Nintendo Japan Talks ‘Low’ Proportion of Female Hardware Devs

Nintendo acknowledged it has a lower percentage of women working in hardware development compared to men, but also feels hopeful for potential future change, according to a Nintendo Q&A released Friday.

Though women who play games increase in number year after year, female game developers continue to be outnumbered by male developers across the video game industry.

Shinya Takahashi, a director at Nintendo and senior managing executive officer, noted that Nintendo has many female developers in its software development departments.

“There are many female developers in the software development departments,” Takahashi said. “Especially, there are many design works involved in developing software, and very high number of females among our designers. Many of them have children, and we have created an environment to work with comfort even for those who have children. I think that [Nintendo] is a very good workplace where women can participate actively and find satisfaction in their work.”

Ko Shiota, a director at Nintendo and senior executive officer, pointed out that the discrepancy is in engineering professions, such as hardware and systems development.

“This is a common issue in Japan that there is not a high percentage of female workers in engineering professions like hardware development and systems development,” Shiota said. “And it’s true in our company that compared to software development, the percentage of female workers in hardware development is low.”

Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s representative director and fellow, noted that the director of the “Animal Crossing” series, a popular IP for Nintendo, is a woman. Miyamoto further pointed out that, based on his impressions, Nintendo has “a lot” of female developers compared to “other development companies in Europe and the US.”

As Nintendo continues to push sales of its Switch console and software, perhaps it will consider pushing for hiring more female developers. Miyamoto, Shiota, and Takahashi did not specifically say that it is a focus for the company.

Shiota, still, had a hopeful perspective to share for the future of Nintendo.

“However,” Shiota said. “Nintendo’s work includes approach to unique technologies, so I believe the proportion of female employees could potentially change in the future.”

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