Nintendo CEO's salary ranks low among game execs

Shareholder reports reveal Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata earns about US$2.1 million per year--far less than other game industry heads.

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While game publishers are often eager to let on how much revenue their big releases are bringing in, other monetary matters, such as company salaries, are not disclosed quite so vocally. However, a new report from Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun has revealed the annual earnings of some of the country's top CEOs, including heads from game publisher Nintendo.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata's annual compensation is ¥187 million (US$2.1 million).

As detailed on Japanese gaming news site Andria Sang, Asahi posted a report this week following the regular shareholder meetings of many Japanese companies. Because Japanese companies are now required to indicate which of their board members receive an annual salary of over ¥100 million (US$1.13 million), the Asahi report revealed the income of Nintendo's top management.

Surprisingly, Nintendo's heads were not among the top-ranking income owners. In the report, Nintendo listed an annual salary of ¥187 million (US$2.1 million) for CEO Satoru Iwata, a figure that includes a ¥68 million (US$767,313) base salary, with the rest awarded based on performance.

A group of six Nintendo board members--including Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto--share an earnings bonus pool of ¥100 million per year (US$1.13 million) on top of their annual salaries.

The original source also lists a salary comparison to other game company heads. Sega Sammy Holdings CEO Osamu Satomi earns ¥435 million a year (US$4.9 million); Sony CEO Howard Stringer earns ¥816.5 million a year (US$9.2 million), while Sony CFO Nobuyuki Oneda earns ¥164.39 million a year (US$1.85 million); Namco Bandai Holdings president Kazunori Ueno earns ¥137 million a year (US$1.5 million); and Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada earns ¥240 million a year (US$2.7 million).

Meanwhile in the US, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick received US$3,151,008 in compensation, as well as netting nearly US$40 million from stock sales.

Discussion

118 comments
DeadnBuried
DeadnBuried

If Iwata and Miyamoto are just earning average salaries rather than the massive increase you'd expect given the superior sales of the Wii and DS, then where's the extra money going? Given this new information it's astounding that we're only NOW seeing some more first party titles like the new Kirby and Donkey Kong, feels like they could've had loads more on the go, that extra money has to be pumped somewhere.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

Nintendo's CEO did a good job and deserves every cent he earned. Unlike that greedy Activision CEO.

ZIVX
ZIVX

That is admirable. He and the CEO before him both used their money that they could have earned and "put it to better use". He even continues to work on games in his free time. I really respect Nintendo's passionate philosophy.

HyruleanLink
HyruleanLink

That pay is good and I'd be happy. Also working for a company like Nintendo is a million dollars itself!

King-gamer
King-gamer

What?!? Iwata should be earning more. He deserves it for bringing Nintendo back to the top of the video game industry. Nintendo slowly fell to the bottom during the N64 era when PlayStation came, and GameCube fell further, but Iwata brought Nintendo back to the top with the DS and Wii. If it wasn't for him, there's a chance Nintendo might end up with the same fate as Sega. He has my respect for that.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Nintendo is a very conservative company, which is why they survived their lean years and have made a bundle during the Wii/DS explosion. Many of their fans complained about their penny-pinching when they were lagging in second or third, but they've stuck to their guns and it paid off. Microsoft and Sony lose a fortune developing and selling bleeding-edge hardware while Nintendo turns a tidy profit on every piece of plastic they churn out. When all the money flows to the boardroom, you get Activision. Kudos, Nintendo, for maintaining some level of sanity.

Traumerei112
Traumerei112

@ lbptoady well hes the CEO of NINTENDO . what do u expect ???

XeonForce
XeonForce

I used to have negative feelings for Satoru Iwata after he became CEO and turned Nintendo towards the super-casual market, but in the last few months, I have seen a much different person. He suits Nintendo very well, and it's nice to see that as much money as Nintendo makes, their revenue is being reinvested into game development instead of overinflated paychecks. Nintendo has officially earned my respect back.

lbptoady
lbptoady

Ya, 2.1 million dollars is nothing..... He still makes a crap load more than any of us, why does it matter.

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

Game Industry stocks are always an interesting thing to read about. Most of these guys have a lot of cash. So reading this makes me wonder a bit. Good Article.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

I'm surprised Iwata makes so little. I would have thought for sure he made at least $5 million a year.

Reiken37
Reiken37

Sony's CEO does get a lot more money, although Sony is the only company here that doesn't just make video games. Still though, it is a little much. Bobby Kotick is way overpayed in my opinion, by about 3 million in compensention and 40 million from stock sales. I know a lot of people, and all of them agree that Kotick is an idiot whos' games shouldn't be bought, maybe it's just the crowd I hang in but who actually likes Kotick. Also, Activision got a hold of Goldeneye Wii... there's another game with hype that will be ruined along with my memories due to Activision.

Brilliant_R
Brilliant_R

@gatorteen Um, the president of Nintendo could easily grab a LOT more money for his salary if he wanted to. It's still a lot, but he could get more if he chose to. Much more. A company can be easily identified by the actions of who's in charge of it. And the actions of Iwata show that he chooses to take in millions less than he can for the benefit of his corporation. Therefor, he isn't cheap. Hence, I highly doubt Nintendo as a whole is cheap. And so I don't think your post is very accurate at all. /:

Ovirew
Ovirew

Nothing to sneeze at. Besides, it's not all about the money. I mean, they do have a pretty win job, yah?

kaptainownage
kaptainownage

This argument never goes anywhere. Because, basically, just like sports, the people that fill the CEO's pockets are the customers that buy the product. If you really want to make an impact, collectively don't buy their stuff or collectively don't watch sports. Otherwise, too bad, you can't really have the best of both worlds. Unless you pass laws that force the wealthy to either donate to good causes or to those with low salaries that we supposedly value more, like professors.

darkman545
darkman545

"Are these people that fulfil needs in life making less than those that make less? Yes." Correction: Are these people that fulfill needs in life making less than those that fulfill wants? Yes.

darkman545
darkman545

@capitalthoughts You are absolutely right that I wouldn't donate all my money to charity. Of course that doesn't mean that I would not not donate anything. My argument is not that of donation or sharing, because I believe that is up to each individual to decide. My point, however, is that the world is upside down. Teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. are making way less a year than even some of the 'poorest' CEO's. We need to learn how to add 2+2 in order advance. We need a doctor/nurse in order to heal us in life and death situations. We don't NEED someone to come up with Marios and Zeldas. Those in third world countries have doctors (or whatever is the equivilant of a 'medicine man') and have teachers. Yet they don't have people making video games. My point in this case is that teachers and medical people are needed in life. We can see that need because there is evidence of these sorts of people all around the world. There are not CEO's all around the world though, showing that their materials are not needs, but rather, wants. And yes doctors already do make a lot. In Santa Clara county, CA, USA a doctor can make up to $600,000 a year. So yes, are they 100% financially stable? Yes. Are they making a lot? Yes. Are these people that fulfil needs in life making less than those that make less? Yes. That was just my point. But I'm not trying to change your mind.

grungeman91
grungeman91

That's basically not that bad, Considering the conditions of how bad the economy is.

Mikethechimp
Mikethechimp

Sony's CEO salary is ridiculous, especially considering how they're faring economically these days.

capitalthoughts
capitalthoughts

@Darkman545 And as for doctors, I have a friend who is a doctor, and he drives a brand-new beautiful audi convertable. Believe me, he isn't hurting.

capitalthoughts
capitalthoughts

@Darkman545 Let me ask you this way....what does the president sell? He isn't in a for profit buisness. He is a public servant, and the public dictates what that president is owed. Kings dictate their own salaries. If I create something that a lot of people want, I should be ashamed that people spend their money on my products? Markets drive the earnings of ceos. Not emotions, or what we think should be right and wrong. Yeah, no president makes more then 400,000 a year, but I can't remember when a rich man wasn't president or king. Your mantra is the same as anyone who is a have-not. You complain about other people being wealthy and say that the world is in a sad state, yet I am sure that if you made something really amazing that everyone wanted, you would only make sure to take 400,000 dollars a year and donate the rest to charity because you wouldn't want to upstage those poor world leaders.

ebonyivory
ebonyivory

cool,...................... but still to much if you ask me

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

2 million beans a year, the best job in the world and a full head of hair! Iwata must officially be the happiest guy in the world. I know I would be.

Tylendal
Tylendal

I know that Iwata and Miyamoto both work incredibly hard in R&D. I wonder how much work most execs do.

firesage
firesage

thats really not much when you compare it to other entertainment like sports, look at some hockey plays, they make 10-15 million dollars, or look at some actors who make upwards of 40 million dollars a movie, it is pretty insane so entertainment is a money maker and there are alot more people in the field of intertainment who make much more money that this guy

missonrs
missonrs

I like iwata (and more after he's recent statment of why games aren't doing well). he has a passion to games not money. I wish kotick was the same way instead of running amazing series to the ground just because he wants more money from them. and last note I would be happy making that kind of money so i don't think those ceos should complain.

darkman545
darkman545

@capitalthoughts Has and makes are two different things. I know that any current president of America makes about $400,000 a year. Not too shabby. But then you look at corporate heads and they make more than that? Just to cure an 8 year olds obsession with Twilight? Doesn't look very good. My point was that in our world wants are now needs and needs are shoved onto the back-burner so to speak. And yes, government is needed, that is, unless you would rather have anarchy. Also, thanks for not talking down to me like I'm an imbecile.....oh wait, not.

capitalthoughts
capitalthoughts

@darkman545 Entertainment is governed by the market. If no one purchases Nintendo products, or any video games for that matter, NONE of these guys would have any money. As for world leaders.....do people seek to govern a nation to gain wealth? For if they do, they would be highly suspect as a great leader. By the way, World leaders are just as rich, if not richer then most CEO's out there. Do you honestly think the CEO of Gamestop, for example, has more money than Obama? I didn't realize, by the way, that the King of Saudi Arabia was hard up for cash.

capitalthoughts
capitalthoughts

@drunkenmoron And how much do you want to bet that when one of these major video game companies does something incredibly dumb and is in danger of becoming extinct, the government of Japan won't bail them out with their citizen's hard earned cash?

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

@hattieshorrer, I'll buy the expensive Sony Bravia tvs, but I'm still on the fence about those freaking 3D glasses!!

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Wow! A Sega CEO making more than a Nintendo CEO! Maybe it was because of the Sega/Sammy merger,but I didn't know they were raking it in like that? Maybe their not, and maybe its' just Nintendo prefers not to overpay its CEOs , and spread the wealth. Nothing is sadder then to see a company fall short of a few percent of its profits from the following year, only to layoff a big chunk of it's workforce to make up for the loss, but yet see the CEO still making a big killing, rather than take a pay cut??Just my thoughts, and I know you have to pay for talent, or someone else will scoop them up, but it just seems kinda good to see some companies like Nintendo not overpaying some front runner!

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

living is a privilidge god gave you -this is somthing my aunt doesnt understand , , if you do bad bad will come ofr you if you do good then good will come in this case, it doesnt matter how much a person makes, so i wonder why gamespot even posted this if this was so important then this site may just have to turn into fox news lol cause seriously who cares what the ceo makes if it aint them , they shouldnt need to know , i think this right here was a waste of our time! give us somthing better to look at , like npd sales aint seen one of these in a while , and or new game info ,back then yall did that ,right now games need mor info -review etc -toy story 3 on wii doesnt even have a review the other 2 version do , so what are we supposed to base wii off of 360 ps3 games now and days of thunder has no info on it-the ps3 one ,

wiiplay1
wiiplay1

And $2.1 or $1.13 million isn't much?

drunkenmoron
drunkenmoron

.............and back in America, bank CEOs continue to make 10 time more than them while doing less work and being more incompetent

rndllck
rndllck

@yankeefanboy13 Is living not a privilege? you could die tomorrow. Besides your gonna pay for it now or later or you'll end up dead. You really care whose pockets your money goes into? I'd rather see the government have it than the health insurance bastards, but then again the government cuts my paycheck so... lol I guess they are my best interest.

marioman87
marioman87

And 2.1 million is a low salary?

ahpuck
ahpuck

I actually can't wait to see Nintendo's next console. HD Nintendo games. . real games! not shooter after shooter after shooter. come on Mr. Iwata, make it happen!

sstravisd
sstravisd

Now I understand why we have the term big, fat, greedy CEOs in America. Some get paid too much for what they can bring to their entire companies.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

Finally Im so tired of comments about Nintendo being greedy and over pricing their products. If they sold their consoles at a discount like Sony and MS they wouldnt have had the money to research the 3DS and we would be wearing 3D glasses buying expensive Sony Brevia TVs.

saxman234
saxman234

lol, these have to be the best comments on all of gamespot. Just reading the back and forth banter between the keynesian vs trickle down economic policies is priceless. Damn, if I had a dime for eveyone that used the word "corrupted" or "corrupt", I could probably buy myself a slice or two of pizza :P

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

I would be happy if I get half of that. and that's better than overpaid fat fail CEOs

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

I agree with most of you. At least he won't get corrupted like other companies. Mainly mentioning Sega, Sony, and Activision.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

At least there's one CEO that's not money hungry like others in this business. No offense to the other systems.

livinitup01
livinitup01

Nintendo invests and saves money for a rainy day. They could dominate even more if they wanted to, by why bother? Iwata probably still wants to lead a humble and respectable life and not be corrupted by too much money. He's probably one of the nicest CEOs on the planet. :D

mbranco_00
mbranco_00

raahsnavj - "CEO's are robbers of the very company they think they are building with wages like that." brendanhunt1 - "how on earth is it stealing?" For every dollar spent on overhead cost like executive salaries that is less money paid out to the shareholders of the company. That's just basic math! I am not trying to harp on Nintendo because they have bin turning out quarterly profits for their share holders. Companies like Activision really take the cake when they post quarterly losses after releasing the largest video game seller in history and still have high executive overhead.

gatorteen
gatorteen

No Brilliant_R, I think it means that Nintendo is cheap.

Tony-Baxter
Tony-Baxter

Bernie Stolar was paid more than that and he MESSED UP Sega.