Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata passes away from cancer

He led the company through a transitional period, but faltered against mobile gaming

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
July 13, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3eb6

There has been some very sad news in the gaming world, as one of the most high profile, and most respected, CEOs in the business suddenly passed away this weekend. 

Satoru Iwata, the President and CEO of Nintendo, died on Saturday, the company revealed in a very short statement on Sunday, early Monday in Japan. The cause of death is listed as a growth in his bile duct, which Iwata had had surgery on in June of last year. He was only 55 years old.

Iwata had worked at Nintendo for the past fifteen years. He joined the company in June of 2000, and was appointed as a Director. In May 2002, less than two years later, he was appointed as President when Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company's president since 1949, retired. At that time he was also made a Representative Director.

In June 2013 Iwata was appointed as CEO of Nintendo of America, a title he held for only two years. 

Before he came to work at Nintendo, Iwata worked at HAL Laboratory right out of school, working on were games like Balloon Fight, EarthBound, and the Kirby. He became president in 1993.

Iwata is credited with helping sail Nintendo through a transitional period, when it was going up against consoles such as Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox by releasing the Wii console and the handheld Nintendo DS. The Wii has sold more than 101 million units in all, while Nintendo DS models have combined for over 154 million units sold, which makes it the best selling handheld game console of all time.

The company has struggled in recent years, though, as it went up against the rise of mobile gaming, an area that the company, and Iwata, were extremely late to catch on to. In 2012 the company saw its first annual loss in over thirty years. 

It was only recently that the company finally announced a partnership with DeNA to set up a mobile game platform, as well as plans to develop smartphone games with Nintendo character, including Super Mario. This was Iwata's last major act as CEO of Nintendo. 

Nintendo made no mention of a potential successor for Iwata, only nothing that Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto, who both hold the titles of Representative Director and Senior Managing Director, will remain with the company and will in all likelihood be taking over Iwata's responsibilities until a new CEO is named. 

Shares of Nintendo stock are up 1.49% right now, or 290 yen, to 19,805 yen per share.

(Image source: commons.wikimedia.org)


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