“On my business card I am a corporate President, in my mind I am a game developer, but in my heart I am a gamer.” – Satoru Iwata
In a moment that fans are calling “Iwata’s Rainbow Road,” nothing more heartfelt could be wished for in the passing of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. On the bleak somber day that news was coming out of Nintendo, the death of the legendary Iwata was reaching all corners of the world. The sporadic dark clouds could not contain the faint but symbolic rainbow that arched over Nintendo of Japan’s headquarters. It was such a touching moment that fans have taken to calling the rainbow a sign for the recently departed Iwata to head up to heaven. A sort of….. “rainbow road” made solely for a man who touched so many hearts and souls with so much joy. Iwata-San, you will be sorely missed on this world. R.I.P.
Nintendo confirmed the sad news that chief executive of the company Satoru Iwata has died of cancer at the age of 55. A legend and leading figure in the video game industry, Iwata oversaw the success of Nintendo’s Wii games console and a surge in revenue before Wii U’s failure followed by smart phone games starting to eat away at Nintendo’s success, forcing the Japanese company to re-think strategy.
Satoru Iwata had been a director at Kyoto-based Nintendo since 2000, and was appointed president in 2002. He had also acted as CEO of the U.S. unit since 2013. A visibly thinner Iwata announced last year that he was sick and did not attend the firm’s shareholder meeting in June 2014, although the drastic nature of his illness was unclear to all at the time.
“Recently, as the result of… detailed examination, a growth was found in my bile duct, In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms. I was counselled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.” Iwata said in a statement at the time.
Nintendo, a company that started as a games card maker in the 19th century before morphing into a global videogame giant in the 1980s. Iwata started off as a games developer before taking over the top post at Nintendo in 2002. Iwata was a main driving force in taking Nintendo to the next generation with innovations in his Kirby’s Adventure games, Super Smash Bros, Pokemon series, and raising the next level of hand-held gaming systems for the company. While as head of Nintendo the 3DS, Wii and Wii U game systems were all created. An impressive track record that earned Iwata recognition as a top 30 CEO from 2007-2009.
Nintendo’s chief had argued that venturing into the overpopulated world of smartphones and tablets risked watering down the hard-fought value of their game creations. Iwata later acknowledged Nintendo had little choice but to move into new areas.
“The world is changing, so any company that is not coping with the change will fall into decline,” – Iwata
Nintendo in March unveiled plans to buy a stake in Tokyo-based mobile gaming company DeNA as part of a deal to develop smart phone games based on Nintendo’s host of popular characters. After Iwata’s passing, Nintendo stated directors Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto would step in to run the firm.
In honor of Satoru Iwata, Game Developers Conference is posting his GDC keynotes in full onto YouTube. This keynote, held in 2005, is entitled “Heart of a Gamer”.