Nintendo’s President, Satoru Iwata, who has been at the helm of one of gaming’s most recognizable and iconic companies, died suddenly. He was 55.
Nintendo put out a brief statement “Nintendo co, Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth”. Iwata had been having health problems for sometime. It was due to health concerns that Iwata did not attend E3 last year and had to have surgery months later to try and remove the bile duct.
Iwata, before his entry in the corporate world at Nintendo, worked at HAL Labratories, helping to develop and program games including ‘Balloon Fighter’ and “Earthbound’ which he helped co-produce as well as program. Iwata was appointed head of the Nintendo in 2000 and then as President in 2002. Iwata was the fourth president of Nintendo and the first not connected to the founding Yamuchi Family. During his tenure, Iwata helmed Nintendo through some of their biggest successes: the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii and navigated the company through rougher times, the less than stellar impacts of the WiiU and 3DS. Iwata fought hard against putting some of Nintendo’s more iconic characters on mobile devices, spurred calls for Nintendo to get out of the console market and refused to order layoffs when Nintendo stocks lagged due to underwhelming WiiU sales. Instead, he took a large pay cut saying “I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the World”.
Iwata had an approachable personality which showed through in Nintendo Q&As called ‘IwataAsks’ as well as Nintendo Directs where he spoke directly to gamers around the world. Even though Iwata was the corporate face of Nintendo, he never forgot his roots: as a programmer, developer and gamer. His legacy and influence on Nintendo, Video Games and the Video Game Industry will impact gamers for years to come.
This is really sad news; Iwata was a influential figure not only inside Nintendo but also in the gaming industry as a whole. Iwata was one of the few corporate heads in the gaming industry that understood what gamers were like and what they may enjoy playing. While he was not perfect in figuring out what gamers wanted to play, he still remembered that video games as supposed to be fun and gamers are supposed to have fun playing games. I don’t think we’ll see another like him for a long time but I hope that his impact and influence on the gaming industry will, maybe one day lead to the ‘next Satoru Iwata’.
What do you guys think of Mr. Iwata’s passing; let me know in the comments.