Nintendo fires Chris Pranger over localization remarks on podcast

Chris Pranger received the ax from Nintendo after explaining the localization process on a podcast that was taken the wrong way.

Chris Pranger, now-former Nintendo employee, made a bad decision while appearing on a Nintendo podcast: speaking honestly about the localization strategies of Nintendo products throughout the world.

Questionable Discussion

While Chris Pranger was associated with the Nintendo Treehouse localization group, he appeared on the Part-Time Gamers podcast previously this month. It was on that podcast where he spoke out of line when discussing how Nintendo decides where games will be released and how to localize them properly.

Pranger didn't maliciously say things against his employer at the time, Nintendo, but when reading into how he said certain phrases pertaining to the company many took it the wrong way. 

Taking full responsibility for his actions, Pranger tweeted out on August 13th that he didn't expect the situation to excel to the termination of his employment, but that it was entirely his fault. 

After such a debacle, many have been seeking comments from Nintendo of America, Pranger's former employer, on his termination. In response, only generic comments were given from a spokesperson, completely disregarding the embarrassment:

"No comment on this topic other than to wish Chris the best in his future endeavors."

Formerly Discussing Localization

During the podcast earlier this month that led to Pranger's termination, he discussed the triumphs and difficulties that localization teams go through when translating and foreseeing the market. The job is not easy. But, being too blunt and straight-forward on localization during a podcast resulted in a catastrophic action. Using Xenoblade Chronicles as an example, Pranger discussed how only certain player groups enjoyed the game and that the revenue to produce Xenoblade Chronicles has to come from somewhere.

"You look at something like even Xenoblade Chronicles. People love that game, you know, within a certain group,"

"That game is not the type of game that just pulls in enough to justify the costs on that. We got it in the States by luck, that [Nintendo of America] decided 'Oh, we'll take the bullet. We'll localize that.' Like, 'OK!' because someone is going to have to eat the costs somewhere, because that game is guaranteed to not sell enough to justify how big that game is. You know, hundreds of hours, all voiced. That's a lot of money that goes into that."

Using Captain Rainbow as another example he discusses in the podcast, he puts it out that although a specific group wants a game to go through, they don't produce enough revenue themselves for the game.

"And it'll be like, 'Yeah, we do want money, which is why we know it's a colossal waste to localize that in this current market because look at you people,"

'You don't make up a big enough group.'"

While Chris Pragner was brutally honest within the podcast, Nintendo didn't think it was his right as their employee to discuss so bluntly how localization works, at such a large venue. 

Repercussions ahead

This giant scandal of sorts that Nintendo of America has gone through with Chris Pranger blew up on the internet during the past week and the repercussions have hit Pranger on his social media. From Twitter to Facebook he's been receiving all sorts of emotional support; both consoling and insulting. 

"I spent the last week in a miserable place once the podcast began getting coverage,"

"I was instantly scared when a coworker poked me and said, 'Hey, you're on GoNintendo.' Suddenly article after article began appearing in game sites of all languages. Comments sections painted me as an idiot and the like. My Twitter started giving me hourly reminders from people meaning well and otherwise. It seemed unthinkable that I'd be let go for a single moment of poor judgment and my own misunderstandings, but here we are."

What is your opinion on Nintendo's rash action to fire one of their localization team members? The termination reason can be considered both reasonable and unreasonable depending on Nintendo's company policy. 

Published Aug. 14th 2015
View Comments
  • RegalSin
    If Nintendo could sell cigarettes to five year old they would. Like President Obama they are the lesser evil. Microsoft is still making millions off selling software the government uses to spy on people. SONY is still making money off there dead and late musicians like Michael Jackson. As they have released MJ unreleasable hit. Why did they do it? Because the money is not going to an American it is going to an Japanese person. Yes Nintendo is doing wrong but again they are the lesser evils.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    Wow I honestly feel bad for the guy. I honestly do not think he was speaking out against Nintendo but explaining to the public the reality of gaming. Gaming costs money and some are always looking for a deal, sale, free, or even pirated material. This is reality.
  • Ainyan
    Actions have consequences. Discussing the internal workings of any business in a public forum is likely to get you fired. Does it suck? Yes. Could Nintendo have censured him in another fashion? Possibly - of course, we also don't have all the details of his time at Nintendo, do we?

    At the end of the day, corporations have a right and a mandate to keep order in their house how they see fit. Nintendo is not the type of company to just randomly fire someone because of embarrassment. If they felt that his firing was justified, it probably was.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    When you're working as PR for any company, or even working as something as simple as a frycook at McD's, you can't talk about the inner workings of the company. Ever. The second you do, it's the second you lose your job. While it seems unfair, he admitted that he saw it coming. By saying anything negative about the company, "leaking" anything that could be considered a "leak" about future games, or even saying that one product might not do so well (unless it's in the company of other colleagues, and no one else) you put your job at risk. He knew that he made a mistake, and that his mistake would have dire consequences.

    It's a sad story, but at the end of the day he screwed up, and he lost his job because of it. It's actually the reason I never want to work PR... job's intense. Can't let *anyone* get you to snap, because the second you do your job as the "face" of the company is done. To say that this is Nintendo just not being fair is just ignorant on the side of the people who have likely never worked in a private business. It's brutal.
  • Durinn McFurren
    It kind of depends on exactly why he was fired. Was it because people got offended that 'a certain group' liked one particular game? Because that'd be kind of silly. It's widely known that games vary in popularity across different cultures. Localization always has to take cultural differences into account.
    On the other hand, he basically stated that Xenoblade was going to bomb in the US. Something which could be seen as negative publicity for the game which presumably could hurt its sales.

    Mostly though, I consider Nintendo quite unreasonable here, and I'm rather glad I don't buy their products anymore.

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