It is an understatement to say that Nintendo Russia has been very controversial. It has been 6 months since Nintendo Europe wrapped up their investigation of the conduct of Nintendo Russia’s general manager, Yasha Haddaji. Since then, a petition has been created to bring Nintendo Russia’s problems to the attention of Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, as well as Nintendo Europe president Stephan Bole. As of this article’s writing, more than 2,100 people have signed the petition. While Furukawa and Bole have not responded yet, Haddaji has decided to answer some questions about the various problems in a new interview with GameMag that was recently posted.
Firstly, Haddaji talked about the price of Nintendo products. Some Nintendo products, especially accessories, are expensive in the region. According to Haddaji, Nintendo Europe sets the price of Nintendo products in Russia, and they even decide the exchange rate. The good news is that the prices are expected to be lower by the end of the year. Secondly, Haddaji says that there will be more Nintendo events held in the region. This will include Level Up Days that will be held in 17 cities across the country. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2 tournaments will be held there, and visitors can choose to watch or participate in them. However, you will only get to try out unreleased games at Level Up Days Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.
Thirdly, Haddaji discussed the lack of localization in many significant games. Haddaji says that exactly what languages the title will be translated into is decided early in the development of a game. Then, the amount of languages is usually trimmed down to make the development cycle quicker and lower costs on the testing. Nintendo Russia has specifically asked “foreign studios” to consider Russian localization in the past, but things frequently don’t go well. These kind of decisions are also frequently influenced by the performance of the studio’s games in each region.
Lastly, Pokemon was discussed. This IP doesn’t have a large presence in Russia. According to Haddaji, there was a reason for this as well. Nintendo Russia has invested tons of money into the Pokemon brand to promote the IP in the region, as well as obtaining a localization in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Unfortunately, this and a large install base has not swayed The Pokemon Company at all. Haddaji says that The Pokemon Company will not translate Pokemon Sword and Shield for Russia. In fact, they didn’t even budge after 6 years of negotiating with Nintendo Russia for the localization. Because of this, Nintendo Russia has repurposed its funding towards other projects. Apparently, The Pokemon Company had chosen the more profitable China over Russia for localization.