It is with a heavy heart that we share the news announced by Nintendo earlier today that Mr Satoru Iwata passed away on Saturday, 11th of July, due to complications with a tumor on his bile duct.
Mr Iwata had missed 2014’s E3 conference due to a medical procedure he was undergoing as part of treatment, but after a brief recuperation period he returned to duties as President of Nintendo.
Joining Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division in 2000, Mr Iwata held the position for two years, before succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi to become the fourth President of Nintendo. The first not related to the Yamauchi family by either blood or marriage.
At the time of his new role as President, Nintendo weren’t doing as well as previous years, due to poor GameCube sales, with serious competition arising from PlayStation and Xbox. It was Mr Iwata’s vision for a less exclusive gaming experience that anyone could enjoy that brought about the DS, 3DS and Wii console lines which saw Nintendo’s profits soar. Mr Iwata was one of the only technology CEO’s to have experience as a programmer, with HAL Laboratories (Including: Kirby, Earthbound, Balloon Fight), which greatly helped his success as President of Nintendo.
As part of their statement, Nintendo also announced that Mr Iwata’s funeral would be held on the 17th of July. While all the flags are flying at half mast at Nintendo, people around the world have been sharing their thoughts on social media and official announcements. From die hard Nintendo fans, to Mr Iwata’s peers from other gaming companies, everyone is keenly feeling this loss to the gaming world.
I might be biased, having grown up with Nintendo and always being a huge Nintendo fan boy, but I genuinely believe that its because of Nintendo that we have the huge gaming industry we do today. For years Nintendo were the front runners of the home gaming consoles and were never even “threatened” on the handheld console market. It was the NES that truly made the home console a widely owned product and later the first console wars between Nintendo and Sega, and later with PlayStation joining in the mix, that really lead to lots of innovations in the gaming world.
It’s a sad day for the gaming world when such an iconic figurehead of such an important company passes. Its very rare that I am overly affected when “famous” people die, but Mr Iwata’s passing has tweaked a heart string today. Thank you for everything you’ve done for the players and the gaming world in general, you’re gone, but not forgotten. And hopefully you’re in a better place now.
My Thoughts go Directly to your family and friends during this sad time.
Goodbye Satoru Iwata, rest in peace, and Thank you.