For anyone having lunch in Japan, themed temptations entice from the fridges of Lawson convenience stores: branded Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Delicious salmon and fresh clam chowder.
For those who don’t yet have the last $70 zelda The game — heralded by some as the greatest of all time and an impressive seller of 10 million copies in its first three days — the $3.26 bowl of hero-named soup that (sort of) appears in the game is a cheap entry point to some precious Nintendo Magic.
However, what lies in his recipe signals an important shift in the way Japanese companies may begin to think about talent, its value, and its transferability.
Cross-marketing a new game with food isn’t anything unprecedented, and Zelda soup, of course, bubbles somewhere near the bottom of Nintendo’s efforts to cash in on its intellectual property outside of games Mario, Link (the Zelda series hero), Donkey Kong, and others have created. Those huge brand equity. But now it forms part of a significantly broader project. Within the past few months, a Super Nintendo World attraction has opened at Universal Studios Hollywood, on the heels of the one that opened two years ago in Osaka, as construction was on a third whiz away in Singapore.
in April, Super Mario Bros movie Premiered in the United States. Since then, it has taken in more than $1.2 billion at the global box office, dwarfing the performance of every other movie theater this year. Nintendo has been saying for a number of years that it wants its IP to work harder, and it’s very clear that there’s a lot of this in the future.
When asked about it in a recent interview, Shigeru Miyamoto, the 70-year-old genius behind the most worshiped idols in the Nintendo Pantheon, said: “Nintendo is like a talent agent. We have a lot of artists in store . . . we have different options. [for using them]. “
Miyamoto is no stranger to the middle of the interview Bon Mott – See “A delayed game is finally good, a hasty game is forever bad”. But this seemed like a nod to something more psychologically fundamental: acknowledging that Nintendo is in the realm of showbiz, and playing by the rules of showbiz. A company that once thought primarily of the value of its IP in terms of what product it could turn into is now judging the same independent IP value (and responsibility for maximizing it) in the context of a huge and multifaceted global entertainment industry.
This change of perspective isn’t unique to Nintendo. A less abstract version occurs elsewhere in Japanese companies and with people rather than pixels. Japan’s historically frigid job market has been thawed by a lack of human capital, diminished expectations of a lifelong job and the actively growing (for some) appeal of the profession that is advancing across many companies.
In a recent article, citing data from government and academic sources, economist Jesper Cole outlines “unprecedented rates of quitting” by elite Japanese bureaucrats who once expected to see their entire careers working for the government. The number of freelancers in their 20s has more than tripled since 2014/15, while the number of freelancers in their 30s has more than doubled in the same period.
These are early days, but people move more flexibly between companies in the middle of their careers. And as competition to secure it intensifies, more transparent, measurable value is added to talent, experience, and the portability of both.
This process, and the realization that a company’s ability to do business must be contextualized in a large overseas job market, requires a huge mental leap for many Japanese companies. Many are accustomed to the idea that they will meet nearly all their needs by hiring college graduates en masse and retaining them through a combination of habit and loyalty.
But that appears to be coming to an end. Nomura’s top executives recently disclosed to the Financial Times last year that, for the first time in the company’s history, it hired more mid-career employees in Japan than it took in with college graduates. Other brokerages, after asking them, were rapidly approaching the same inflection point, they said. In certain sectors, such as IT, the crossover is long gone. If, as seems increasingly likely, this pattern becomes prevalent across Japanese companies, the mental shift — from getting a bulk shipment of ore to buying a finished good on the market — will be historic. Everyone, in fact, is going to become a talent agent.
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