Nintendo’s President and CEO, Satoru Iwata, passed away at the age of 55 according to a statement released by Nintendo on Monday. The cause of his death is stated to be cancer caused by a bile duct tumor.
Iwata started working for a company that created games for Nintendo in 1985, joined Nintendo in 2000 and became the President in 2002. Even while rocketing up the corporate tree, Iwata made one thing clear, that he was a gamer before anything else.
Iwata at a game developers conference in 2005:
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.
Under Iwata’s leadership, Nintendo outpaced other console makers and worked on stretching the very definition of gamers by bringing the console to the Living room. He rolled out the popular Nintendo DS and the Wii platforms which became industry leaders. He also worked on bringing new games that fascinated the more casual gamers.
Iwata was the driving force behind Nintendo is the last decade
Nintendo DS was a clunky touchscreen device that came before the touchscreen era and competed against Sony’s PlayStation Portable. The DS had games that appealed the casual gamers and brought massive success.
This was followed by the Wii console which was initially criticised for not being HD, being cheap and having less processing power. The platform proved everyone wrong and took the gaming industry by surprise and eventually changed it completely, selling more devices than the Xbox and PlayStation combined. Wii will eventually became Iwata’s legacy that he leaves behind at Nintendo.
Even Industry rivals like the Sony PlayStation made tributes to the Iwata in social media. “Thank you for everything, Mr. Iwata,” tweeted the official Sony PlayStation account.
Nintendo hasn’t announced a successor yet
Iwata was diagnosed with bile duct tumor last year but in its early stages. He missed Nintendo’s last year’s annual shareholders’ meeting due to his surgery. When he was diagnosed, “In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early,” he wrote. “In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms.”
Sources report that Iwata’s health deteriorated rapidly after the annual shareholders’ meeting this year on the 26th of June. Nintendo hasn’t announced a successor yet but until it does, Research and development head Genyo Takeda and Creative Guru Shigeru Miyamoto will take charge of the company as its representative directors.
The company’s shares dropped by less than 1 percent after the saddening news. Iwata’s death puts the company in more hardship as Nintendo’s enters into the mobile gaming market and is about to release its next gaming console dubbed NX.